A newly discovered Apple patent application describes a system that would make it easier for Apple Store employees to diagnose water damage in your phone so that they can deny you a replacement.
AppleInsider spotted "Mechanisms for Detecting Exposure to Water in an Electronic Device". The patent describes a circuit-based system for detecting water damage that would replace the chemical sensors currently used in Apple products.
Apple doesn't trust you—that's why the company installs those little water damage detectors in the first place. The new patent application, though, reveals that Apple doesn't trust its employees either. According to Apple, many of its workers don't have the skills necessary to inspect your gadget to make sure that it's actually faulty and that you didn't just drop it in the toilet. According to the patent:
Often, particularly at a point of sale, personnel receiving the returned device may be unqualified or untrained to determine whether or not a device has failed due to manufacturing defects or due to consumer abuse. Thus, personnel at the point of sale may often times exchange the returned product with a working replacement product regardless of the cause of failure in order to avoid potential conflicts with the customer. As a result, it is not uncommon for consumers to receive replacement products or repair services on abused products not covered under the terms of a warranty. Such erroneous replacements or repairs may be costly to the vendor and/or manufacturer of the product.
Apparently, both the liquid damage indicators in Apple products and the company's employees simply aren't reliable enough to determine your iPhone's cause of death. [Free Patents Online via AppleInsider]