Why did Apple lock in Liquidmetal for two more years?

“Imagine iPhone 5 looking as though it is made of a liquid metal, and feels like a liquid to the touch,” Nigam Arora writes for Forbes. “Imagine a case more than twice as strong as titanium. Imagine no scratches or smudges.”

“If Apple (AAPL) pulls off such an innovation in iPhone 5, it will be a coup, giving Apple another edge over its competitors. A recent SEC filing provides fresh evidence that Apple seems to be very interested in dealing with a company that makes such ‘liquid metal,'” Arora writes. “A small company named Liquidmetal Technologies (LQMT)… has developed a series of amorphous metal alloys that are sold under the commercial name Liquidmetal.”

Arora writes, “Liquidmetal alloys are made of a mix of titanium, nickel, copper and zirconium, among other metals. These materials feel as smooth as liquid or glass when touched; hence the name Liquidmetal. These materials offer high tensile strength, excellent resistance to corrosion, and strong resistance to scratches. These materials can be easily cast and molded using heat similar to thermoplastics. Apple has an exclusive agreement to use Liquidmetal technology in consumer electronics.”

“The new evidence that Apple is serious about Liquidmetal is found in the 8-K filed by Liquidmetal Technologies, Inc with SEC on June 18, 2012… ‘On June 15, 2012, Liquidmetal Technologies, Inc. (the “Company”) and Apple Inc. (“Apple”) entered into an amendment (the “Amendment”) to the Master Transaction Agreement that they previously entered into on August 5, 2010 (the “MTA”)… Under the Amendment, the parties agreed to amend the MTA to extend the February 5, 2012 date to February 5, 2014… The foregoing does not purport to be a complete description of the Amendment and is qualified by reference to the full text of such agreement, which will be filed with the Company’s next Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q,'” Arora writes. “Even though the impact on Liquidmetal is not quite clear, it is clear that if Apple uses Liquidmetal on iPhone, it will be big.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Arline M.” for the heads up.]

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How Liquidmetal could give the next iPhone its special swagger – April 19, 2012
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  1. “Feels” like liquid? “Looks” like liquid? Don’t think so. Very light and very strong yes, but has no special outward appearance. Anyone that had the SIM pin on the 3GS knows that. I’d still like to see Apple do something substantial with LM.

  2. I’m tired of just hearing about it. Let’s see it actually get put to use. They say it can also be used for batteries. How about 20% longer battery life? I don’t imagine a case that is twice as strong as titanium. If that was the case, there’d be more manufacturers in other industries using it. This Liquidmetal hype is rather annoying. That company’s share price and market cap is so freaking low, Apple could buy it with a few day’s iPhone proceeds. Nah, I doubt the company Liquidmetal is sitting on anything of unusually high value.

    1. I hear your skepticism, but clearly Apple sees something here. I’m not really sure why Apple doesn’t buy more of it’s smaller partners, like ARM, and the Dragon Technologies for voice recognition, and possibly Liquid Metal, and maybe some firms that invest in robotic technologies and automation (hardware or software). There’s a lot of areas Apple could innovate, not sure why they don’t push into more things.

  3. this article is 100% pure liquid bullshit.

    liquid metal means that its atomic structure is amorphous, like a liquid, and not crystalline, like usual metals.

  4. Forming the chassis of laptops out of aluminum didn’t make sense either, until Apple did it. Apple continues to set new paradigms. I wouldn’t bet against the use of Liquidmetal in the new iPhone.

    1. They were no better and years before that.

      Actually, none of media which is said to be “respectable” is actually respectable. You can name WSJ, NYT, Time magazine, whatever — and I know how much lame journalism they allow.

  5. As I understand it, right now it would be insanely expensive to use liquid metal in the iPhone five case. It would take some serious work to bring that price down. Also, from what I’ve read, it seems that they don’t make large parts very well either. I recall something saying they focused on parts that were 4 inches long or shorter… Of course, innovation could also fix that. But it gives you a sense of the challenges.

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