Apple has requested a patent that might lead to future weatherproof devices. Although the company filed its paperwork back in June 2014, it only was revealed publicly this week. The paperwork centers on "self-healing elastomer" or rubber that can lose and regain its shape to keep the sensitive inner-workings of a device protected. The patent explains that this rubber seal on external jacks, like one for headphones or a power cord, would open up when a plug is inserted. Once it’s removed, the covering will reshape and go back to protecting the device’s opening.
Some varieties of the elastomer can protect against dust, debris, water, and gas, among other crazy environmental things, so you soon might be able to take a sick dust storm selfie without annihilating your iPhone.
Other companies already use waterproof ports on their devices. Sony's Z5, for instance, and the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active, both have waterproofed headphone and power ports that don’t require special covers.
While Apple's patent request doesn’t necessarily mean users will get a fully water-resistant device any time soon, Apple does already hold a patent for a waterproof logicboard; there’s a spongy black material around the circuitry for its protection. Both the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus are built with those logicboards. Even still, the devices aren’t fully waterproof, although they’re more resistant to water than prior iPhones.
Correction, 4:30PM, December 11th: The original version of this article implied that Apple had been granted this patent. That is incorrect, Apple merely filed for the patent, it has not yet been granted any patent protections. The article has been updated to reflect that.