Apple’s iPhone 5 made of metallic glass reportedly arrives this October

Tim Worstall reports for Forbes that Apple’s next-gen iPhone, “will be made, at least in part, of metallic glass” and “that it will arrive in October. Let’s deal with the easy one first, the arrival date. Rather than the previously assumed summer launch it will be later. The basic reason is that Qualcomm, makers of some of the necessary chips, cannot ramp up production fast enough, thus the delay.”

“The second is more complicated: metallic glass is an odd material and many will get this wrong. A possibly more accurate description would be glassy metal,” Worstall reports. “But this metallic glass/glassy metal… is made of the pure metals, not the oxides. Here the ‘glass’ part is referring to its amorphous nature. Metals, as they cool, grow crystalline structures within them. Only small but there will be a lot of them, spread through the metal. This is often desirable and sometimes not.”

“So, researchers have for many years looked at making metals without such crystalline structures: that’s what the ‘glass’ part here refers to. The method used was to cool the molten metal at millions of degrees per second (that’s the rate, obviously the metals are not millions of degrees cooler at the end of one second). This gives us that piece of metal with no internal crystals as they’ve not had time to form,” Worstall reports. “Oh, and don’t be fooled by the ‘glass’ part of this. They are opaque, not transparent, so they won’t be used for the screen.”

Worstall reports, “The original such metallic glasses weren’t all that good but a company called Liquidmetal [LQMT] managed to get some decent recipes for alloys… These didn’t need cooling at that super high rate and it is also possible to mould them into interesting shapes. Apple we know has a licence to use these alloys in consumer electronics… For anyone who is interested in seeing what this metallic glass is like see if you can get hold of the special little tool that Apple hands out with the iPhone3 for removing the SIM card. That’s made of it and they deliberately made it out of this metallic glass to see how it fared out in the real world.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple’s next-gen iPhone: Thinner, lighter, faster – and poured? – April 19, 2012
How Liquidmetal could give the next iPhone its special swagger – April 19, 2012
Apple’s next-gen iPhone main body to shift from Gorilla Glass to Liquidmetal, say industry sources – April 18, 2012
Liquidmetal Technologies filing outlines its multimillion dollar agreement with Apple – March 31, 2012
Apple granted its first Liquidmetal patent – January 5, 2011
Apple patent application describes scratch-resistant stainless steel – October 29, 2010
Join the dots on six future Apple technologies – September 22, 2010
Apple already using Liquidmetal in their… – August 17, 2010
Inventor says Liquidmetal may be used for new iPhone antenna – August 13, 2010
Apple already uses Liquidmetal; Guess which product and win a Magic Trackpad – August 13, 2010
How will Apple use their exclusive Liquidmetal alloy? – August 12, 2010
Apple’s exclusive Liquidmetal pact could see future Apple products encased in metallic glass – August 11, 2010
Apple inks deal for exclusive rights to custom, super-durable metal alloy – August 09, 2010

23 Comments

    1. What they call “glass” has appropriate term: amorphous sctructure. Glass is totally wrong word since its primary quality is transparency, which is obviously has nothing to do with Liquidmetal.

  1. That little tool presents Apple with no serious case of real world use. Wait until they build tens of millions of phones with the material and put them in consumers’ hands, then we’ll find out whether it’s good or not.

  2. Personally, and for Apple, I hope it’s not October. With the 4G iPad already out and practically every other phone 4G capable now, that is a long time to wait.

  3. NICHOLS: Transparent aluminum?
    SCOTT: That’s the ticket, laddie.
    NICHOLS: It would take years just to figure out the dynamics of this matrix.
    McCOY: Yes, but you’d be rich beyond the dreams of avarice.
    SCOTT: So, is it worth something to you? Or should I just punch up ‘clear’.
    NICHOLS: No! No! (a female employee comes into the office) …Not now Madeline! …What exactly did you have in mind?
    McCOY: Well, a moment alone, please. …Do you realise of course, if we give him the formula, we’re altering the future.
    SCOTT: Why? How do we know he didn’t invent the thing!

  4. Apple has been using liquid metal since they obtained a license. My guess—an it is just that—is that part of the license required Apple to us the alloy in some manner during the course of the license. These sundry uses of liquid metal we’re designed to maintain the license while Apple worked with manufacturers on cost effective manufacturing processes.

  5. “The method used was to cool the molten metal at millions of degrees per second (that’s the rate, obviously the metals are not millions of degrees cooler at the end of one second). ”
    I didn’t know we had foundries capable of heating to millions of degrees. This was not on any episode of modern marvels.

    1. Really? He even explained it. It’s the *rate* of the change, just like driving 100 MPH doesn’t mean you have to travel 100 miles. What it essentially means is that it’s cooled *very* fast. The actual temperature change may be be only hundreds of degrees.

  6. Steve Jobs finally released the notes that Scotty gave him years ago. Not the full formula but just enough to get started and boom. Transparent metal is on its way! 😉

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