Whoa! This Liquidmetal iPhone 5 concept looks real

“As rumors about Apple switching to the all-new metallic glass material for a next-generation iPhone continue to persist, one designer has weighed in with own rendition of what the device might look like, both from the inside and the outside – and it’s quite noteworthy,” Christian Zibreg reports for iDownloadBlog.

“As you know, Apple obtained a worldwide exclusive license to use Liquidmetal alloy in consumer electronics products. With previous rumors alleging a complete redesign, a Liquidmetal-based iPhone is certainly a plausible proposition,” Zibreg reports. “French designer Antoine Brieux has gone all out creating these gorgeous sixth-generation Liquidmetal iPhone shots.”

Zibreg reports, “The use of the new metallic glass alloy would let Apple create a stronger, lighter and thinner iPhone, with a body just 7.9mm thin (versus the 9.3mm profile of the current iPhone 4S).”

NAK Phone Design, Antoine Brieux, Liquidmetal iPhone concept

NAK Phone Design, Antoine Brieux, Liquidmetal iPhone concept

NAK Phone Design, Antoine Brieux, Liquidmetal iPhone concept

More images in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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RUMOR: Apple’s new MacBook Pro, Air to be made of Liquidmetal – April 24, 2012
A Liquidmetal iPhone 5: What’s in it for You – April 23, 2012
Apple’s next-gen iPhone may be baptized in Liquidmetal – April 20, 2012
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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
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Apple inks deal for exclusive rights to custom, super-durable metal alloy – August 09, 2010

54 Comments

  1. It has been a design theme that iPhones are symmetrical from left to right AND from top to bottom. I don’t mean in placement of buttons, speakers, and other surface details. I’m talking about overall shape, thickness, and placement of screen.

    This concept fails my “usability test,” because the uneven “handles” at the top and bottom will make it awkward when holding the iPhone horizontally (especially if it’s supposed to have a larger screen).

        1. That’s how I read ken1w’s post, too. It’s all about time travel, back to the 80’s, and if the new iPhone is somehow imperfect we should just all wear loin cloths again or something.

    1. That’s true that Apple could make any shape they wanted. Especially with Liquimetal. Personally I hide side bevels go away. A flat side service makes it far easier to work the controls. On my new iPad I don’t know what they’re thinking as angled buttons are ergonomic harder to use, especially in a protective case. My original iPad was far easier. So FAIL on bevelled sides with angled buttons for me.

    2. Just Insanely beautiful renderings.
      Conceptually and gracefully – feels iPhone.
      The detailing is a liquid dream – well done.

      There are tiny yet still evident similarities here to that of a recent concept presented earlier by ADR. People are thinking along closer paths. And so will Jony ives – we all wait to see just how radical his shall be or how similar. Simplicity can only get so simple. However materials do have a way to enhance and effect a designers outcome. Lighter, thinner, tapered, angular edges, bevels, bezels, placements and special natures of the materials that sparked the reason to use it do not seem apparent in anything conceptualized yet other then slimmer and stating it is lighter.

      Topic of balance or top and bottom zones for functionality. I have to agree with Ken1w here. NOt that it is a FAIL. But this was also pointed out on ADR design. The proportions of the face standing in its vertical express a thicker base where the home button sits and a narrow top which is reminiscent of Samsung Galaxy. Hence agreed but who knows what will be decided. Also as mentioned one will think this may lead to a less useful phone when considering the phones rotational left or right landscape viewing. Agreed yet again in theory, however, engineering wise the physical balance of this phone could easily be solved internally weighted to feeling rightly comfortable and suitable for one handed use. Rotation does not require two hands. And spinning clockwise or counter-clockwise is no problem. Be that by left or right handed user. So, I don’t see any issues there until the actual phone is manufactured and in real hands to test. So fail not.

      This is a superb looking phone rightful fresh with minor considerations to make it to the finals. I like it a lot. I wooudl be happy to carry suck a phone. It’s Stylish, sleek, strong dynamic lines, energized enough to feel new yet still a natural transition from iPhone4s to iPhone Next. – Bravo.

    1. Well said Rorschach. Yes, I totally agree. One would be so happy to carry such a phone.

      This design is bold and detailed yet natural enough to supersede as the evolutionary new iPhone.

  2. bullshit.

    why? (landscape) games.

    what does your left hand grab? 1/5 of the screen? sure, you won’t need that surely. most devs will just push all scenarios and game play a little bit to the front 😉

    1. I have no issue with a non-physical home button.
      Its a concept. However, not to degrade the body of work here nor to down the designer in any way whatsoever – the image depicting the landscape shot with “Angry Birds,” felt odd. Odd in the sense that the choice was more of a second thought.

      It’s visually shocking – different from the other renderings. Suddenly the base is equalled by the top – very nice “Ken1w” sees balance cool. We grasp and understand this visual balance due to the verbiage stating – “oh by the way this has no physical home button.” If this were evident in other photos it would be sweeter and more believable. Example, explaining that the Home button drops down – hides and we gain more vertical real-estate and more app buttons (a deeper selection without a home button) during certain times caused by the phones rotation or vertical positioning using the gyro-meterics perhaps or some other clever way to introduce the user to a home key feature – or perhaps there is an entirely different way to eliminate that button entirely. We swipe to move page to page. Perhaps a two finger swipe quickly brings you HOME?

      Still, the slide to unlock and a virtual home button could be designed as a layered function like Quicktime functions in the new iOS 6. Like notifications. The function (home) appears over top in certain circumstances. When and how – i haven’t thought of yet – but someone will. Now, illustrate that and provide renderings and WOW – this could be the real deal folks. Oh, but the designer here for this phone does not require also to be the interface UI designer too. So lets just let it be.

  3. Nonsense: use of LM alloy will not make iPhone thinner (and yes, the “5” number in the name is wrong). And this LM alloy is not glass. Apple can not use LM as back of device since it is not radiotransparent.

    1. And, of course, no such thinness — because of thick good-quality sensor with five lens optics. Apple hates bulges, so there will be no of this ugliness.

      No to such big screen, too.

      No to physical button’s disappearance.

    2. 1)Your observations are wrong on all three counts.
      Indeed the use of LM alloy does permit the thinning, as no other material can be used as an encasement band around the top and bottom layers which will have both the strength to contain the top and bottom and innards as a unit and also such a thinness of the band itself, and the flexibility and (snapback) to absorb drops on the corners without transmitting the blow to the top and bottom panels.
      2)LM Alloy, is my definition, a bulk metallic glass, with an amorphous metallurgical structure which gives the attributes ascribed above in 1)
      3) If you look at the part above, the metal band enclosure, if is obvious to the most untrained eye that such part is not a back plate as you allude to.

      The only thing you posted correctly in your post was the first word: NONSENSE

      1. 1) Apple developed frame concept and it will not abandon it, hence LM alloy has nothing to do with thinning. Also, typical metal frame from regular metal looks about the same. The only thing that LM can influence here is somewhat lesser weight of the phone comparing to steel;

        2) LM alloy is not glass. Calling glass something entirely different just because of one of the qualities is the same is pure nonsense. If is as someone would start callig pencil containing graphite “diamond pensil” just because both contain the same atom, or calling diamond “quartz” just because both are crystals;

        3) if they do not intend to use LM for back plate, then this is specific argument is non-valid, agree. With #1 being in place, this was their only chance make phone thinner, even though making it really bad at doing its primary work.

        1. derss, look at the artistic rendering of the “Liquidmetal alloy phone case” above. It appears to have *holes* in it for antenna reception and transmission. The back surface looks like a piece of curved glass laminated to the Liquidmetal case. Apple is big into curved glass and already uses a glass backplate on the current iPhone 4S, so that is not an unreasonable guess.

          The “iPhone 5″ rendering looks very nice to me – like something that Apple would design. To address some of the bezel and symmetry objections posted above, it appears to me that the display and home key could be shifted more towards the bottom of the device to provide more balanced bezel sizes at the top and bottom. The edge-to-edge display is consistent with a 4” diagonal display integrated with the current iPhone 4S form factor – again, a reasonable guess.

          Apple should make this device. I will buy one.

          1. Apple needs to design something very attractive and pleasing with a high level of prestige to evoke a desire to want the next iPhone since technical advancements generally are internal. I like iPhone 4/s and love the dual band antennae – it was ingenious. Appel could hold on yet another year or it could move on.

            Agreed. The frame or chassis or case is the only part being suggested to be produced from LiquidMetal.

            It is a concept “derss” and your knowledge that LM is incapable of radio signals – that it is not transparent enough to function is great. Continue the rant.

            But PLEASE consider that the antennae from the now famous iPhone4/s is one day abandoned – such that the frame no longer functions in that regard – it’s not an antennae so do not assume that. And, there is no suggestion by that designer that the case or frame is to act that way.

            As I saw and as “kingmal” points out… look at the holes in the back of the case. I’m no engineer but perhaps those could allow for radio frequencies to pass. No?

            There is no mention as to the materials of the outer most back plate. What would it be made of? And i do not see the back camera as extruding outwardly.

            Also, I just like to point out, thought i do not service iPhone4/s but similar to the MacPro accessibility by taking off the back glass allowed easy entry since no internal cross braces are present. Comparing this new design a technician might be more confined to the tight space and hole when servicing.

  4. Remember that Liquid Metal is formed through injection molding, not milling like the unibody products from Apple.
    Unibody is much stronger than stamped sheet metal but is limited in the shape it can take, but injection molding can take almost any form.

    So a Liquid Metal iPhone may look like something we have never seen before.

    But this does look pretty cool on its own.

    1. That’s why my Sim Card ejection tool looks so much like an Apple ejection tool of the disk drive days but cooler. A re-purposed bent paper-clip.

      And I can use it for self-defense if anyone ever tries to steal (or is that steel) my iPhone from me. Heh.

      RevDrX – you are so right about any shape and form. Also about what Jony will cook up in his labs! We have no idea.

      Cheers

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