Apple’s next-gen iPhone may be baptized in Liquidmetal

“Apple will use so-called Liquidmetal for the casing of the iPhone 5, which will be launched in June, according to Korea IT News,” Richard Adhikari reports for MacNewsWorld. “Liquidmetal is the commercial name of an amorphous metal alloy developed by researchers at the California Institute of Technology and marketed by a company they set up called Liquidmetal Technologies [LQMT].”

“Apple purchased a worldwide exclusive license to commercialize Liquidmetal Technologies’ intellectual property in the field of consumer electronics, according to the latter’s 10-K report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in March,” Adhikari reports. “‘With the license, Apple’s highly likely to use the technology in future mobile devices, including the iPhone, iPad or even the MacBook Air,’ Jim McGregor, president of Tirias Research, told MacNewsWorld. ‘Liquidmetal offers a lightweight solution that has all the characteristics of metal and can be an attractive alternative to plastics.'”

Adhikari reports, “Another term for heat-forming Liquidmetal is metal injection molding, Kevin Keller, a senior principal analyst at IHS iSuppli, told MacNewsWorld. Metal injection molding ‘lets you fabricate complex geometries similar to injection molded plastics’ but with the advantages of a metal alloy — strength, rigidity, wear and corrosion resistance… ‘Right now, Apple’s exploring the use of this manufacturing technique into more and more components of their products, and possibly even planning to use this technology for larger, more visible components such as the enclosure,’ iSuppli’s Keller said. ‘Apple is, I’m sure, right now developing techniques to expand this manufacturing process into larger and larger parts like enclosures.'”

Read more in the full article here.

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Apple granted its first Liquidmetal patent – January 5, 2011
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11 Comments

    1. The LiquidMetal material is not a rumor, nor is Apple’s license for its use. The manner in which Apple intends to apply this material is speculation at this point, but reasonable speculation given Apple’s past designs for iOS devices. If this material has engineering and/or aesthetic merit, then Apple will find a way to use it.

      1. The problem with all of those rumour that they are ignorant:

        1) Apple purchased exclusive licence to liquid metal for use in electronic devices already two years ago;

        2) Apple already uses liquidmetal in certain specific areas such as SIM card dock opener;

        3) Apple will not be use liquidmetal for the new iPhone’s case since this material is neither light- nor radio-transparent. If Apple could use it, then they would have made the back of iPhone 4/4S of metal, as they do with iPod touch. 3G and 4G cell networks are almost prohibitive to use of such wide areas of metal even when the antenna is moved to outer frame. Jobs wanted metal, but had to cede it. Apple might use Liquidmetal instead of steel for making the frame, but this would not change weight much since main weight is in glass, screen and battery;

        4) finally, media keeps on this stupid “iPhone 5” thing, which already failed last year, and have even more reasons to fail this time since the phone is going to be sixth generation device. Apple never called anything with standalone number that lags comparing to actual generation. If the number is not standalone and the model is an upgrade of the previous device, then they do — like in case of 4-4S. Now the phone will be called “iPhone 4G”, “iPhone 6” or even simply “iPhone”.

        1. “Apple never called anything with standalone number that lags comparing to actual generation. If the number is not standalone and the model is an upgrade of the previous device, then they do — like in case of 4-4S. Now the phone will be called “iPhone 4G”, “iPhone 6″ or even simply “iPhone”.”
          Eh? What are you talking about?
          The first model was the iPhone, the next was the 3G. The next upgrade of that was the 3Gs, followed by the first full form change the iP4, then the 4S.
          By your logic, where was the iPhone 2? It’s just as likely, if not more so, that the next gen will be the iP5, Certainly NOT iPhone 4G, that would be bloody stupid for a complete revision.

        2. Seems unlikely it will be called iPhone 4G after the legal problems in Australia and elsewhere with the 4G iPad. I think everything points to it being called “The new iPhone”

          1. Also, there is principal difference between marketing iPad that supports 4G and “iPhone 4G” where “4G” is part of the name. If Apple will not state on Australian iPhone web page that it supports 4G cell network technology, then there is nothing what regulators could do.

            But yes, “iPhone” name will makes more sense, considering iPad’s naming changes.

    2. @kingmel, et al.

      I wasn’t commenting on the existence of LM. It exists; that’s a fact.

      What I was commenting on was the repetitive stream of identical LM rumors we have seen recently.

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