In the series "A Modest Proposal," my colleagues and I will propose inventions and projects that I think are eminently doable and would love made real.

Imagine an iPhone that is watertight — one with no power or audio sockets. A future iPhone 5 could be one you can play while showering or in the swimming pool, and you wouldn't have to worry about it dying if you drop it by accident in the sink or toilet.

Might future iPhones be waterproof? Credit: Apple.


This idea, from my colleague Davide Castelvecchi, may easily be possible now. The widespread use of wireless Bluetooth earsets could mean that audio sockets on phones are things of the past, and waterproof microphones could be used instead for those who do not want to use such headsets. Wirelessly syncing music, photos and other files between your iPhone and your computer is also possible via WiFi. In addition, one can now charge electronics wirelessly, either by placing them on inductive charger pads or even without pads from a distance. (Indeed, Apple may be experimenting with a new way of charging the 2012 iPhone.)

The iPhone comes to mind because Apple already seals them so that customers cannot readily open them. Still, there is no reason one can't imagine a waterproof Android phone or a tablet such as the iPad.

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