Ceramics, Liquidmetal and Magic Glass, what could Apple’s iPhone 5 tempt us with next?

“The move for high-end smartphones is now firmly into the exotic. The iPhone has changed from plastic to metal and glass, it has tapered, then rounded and squared out, in its brief life. What next for the diminutive device?” Chris Knight asks for CMSWire. “Certain factors dictate the basics of its shape, but with endless budget and a reputation to uphold, Sir Jony Ive and his laboratory elves will be looking to do something different for the next model to keep iPhone firmly on top of the pile and a “must have” icon rather than just a ‘could have’ gadget… While [ceramics] have a reputation as a brittle substance, advances in construction and coatings are likely to have overcome this and silicon nitride ceramics are claimed to be light and easy to hold, something of an advantage over those slippery shiny surfaces.”

“Apple has patents in the technology and a commercial arrangement with LiquidMetal Technologies, the company spun to sell CalTech’s original invention. The resulting alloy is described as thin, light and highly resistant to external impacts, being harder than titanium,” Knight reports. “Since Samsung is going with ceramics, this could be Apple’s way of retaining a unique design feature and seems the favorite material for the new iPhone. A unibody design is something that more phone makers are using and will help reduce costs. Liquidmetal can be molded into such a structure. It can also handle heat better than traditional metals, key as Apple tries to cram ever faster components inside.”

Knight reports, “The final element of the phone’s exterior is the glass and screen. While we might be a few years away from the metallic glass created at the University of Berkelely, Apple is looking at advances from the likes of Corning (who showed off its latest wares in China last month) and others to produce, a stronger, lighter screen.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple’s iPhone 5 made of metallic glass reportedly arrives this October – April 20, 2012
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

7 Comments

  1. My preference in terms of design priorities? Make iOS devices waterproof!

    IOS devices are already sealed from all but the most determined technicians. You can’t change the battery. So why not seal up the relatively few access points against the intrusion of moisture and really help the consumer?? My kids destroyed two iPod touch devices over the past six months due to water. I would rather have a functioning iOS device than a 10% coupon off of a new iPod sheathed in a LiquidMetal backplate.

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