Apple patent application reveals new machinery for creating Liquidmetal forms

“On January 31, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals new method for fabricating a sheet of metallic glass matrix composite,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“Metallic glass is a form of Liquidmetal,” Purcher reports. “In order to make cool products with this exotic material one must first invent equipment that could properly processes and control it.”

Purcher reports, “Today’s patent relates to sheet casting of metallic glasses, and more particularly to twin roll sheet casting of bulk metallic glasses and composites in an inert environment… Apple credits Douglas Hofmann, Scott Roberts and William Johnston as the inventors of this patent application which was filed in Q2 2012. Douglas Hofmann is the surprise here as he’s not an Apple engineer. No, Hofmann is Materials Scientist and Metallurgist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology. Yet before working for NASA, Hoffmann worked as a Research and Development Scientist at Liquidmetal Technologies.”

Much more, including Apple’s patent application illustrations and diagrams, in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hmmm…

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New Apple agreement suggests Liquidmetal iPhone will arrive within two years – June 20, 2012
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Apple’s recent huge investments in plants and equipment for Liquidmetal use in iOS devices, Macs? – May 22, 2012
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Is Apple Inc.’s bet on Liquidmetal about to pay off? – April 30, 2012
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Apple inks deal for exclusive rights to custom, super-durable metal alloy – August 09, 2010

34 Comments

      1. It is not just the electronics we are looking at here, it is the equipment that makes the equipment!!! In order to copy the product they intend to make, you must first be able to make it,
        if you make the equipment to make the product, you have caused an infringement long before making the product! This is a very astute use of patent laws as it invalidates the argument of “I did not willfully infringe the product!”
        Just a thought on a thought En!

        1. The Samsung approach will not change, except, instead of copying machined aluminum with plastic, they will copy a metallic glass matrix composite with plastic. It will still be cheap plastic crap.

          OBTW, all the predictions of a low cost plastic-backed iPhone are just made up. Apple uses a machined aluminum unibody structure in every product that people carry around.

    1. “Transparent Aluminium?”
      Are you completely daft? LiquidMetal is very hard indeed, any type of aluminium is soft and easily damaged by comparison. The frame/antenna of the iPhone is crying out for liquidmetal, instead of aluminium, which is very easily marked.

        1. Excellent point except for one thing, you are quibbling over a movie made by Hollywood for entertainment; sorry but not real. This Apple patent is real and exciting, I can’t wait to see what they do with it.

    1. Welllll…. of course historically the “S” series feature mostly internal changes from their predecessors, the S canonically indicating “Speed”.
      (I disagree with the whole notion and feel they should’ve taken the opportunity in this latest model to drop the numbers altogether just like the rest of their product lineup, but that’s another story.)
      “iPhone 6”, sure that could well feature a new housing or somesuch.

      1. I agree that Apple should start calling the iPhone 5S or 6 just “iPhone.” It would be in keeping with all of their other products. Plus it gets a little unwieldy when you have to start referring to your “iPhone 137S.”

    1. Me too. You knew that those deals would come into play at sometime but it’s taken a bit longer than I thought. Could still be a few products away but usually apple takes its time to get it right. (I said “usually” so please, no Maps comments)

      1. Maps is fine. The whiners don’t remember what Mapquest was like when first introduced, or Google Maps, or…

        Most problems stem from the raw data from the supplier. It takes time to find the problems, and those finding them do not report so that others (competitors) can benefit.

  1. I’m gonna take a guess and say that this might be applied to any number of unibody applications. I imagine any sort of molding process that might yield a similarly durable chassis would be much more resource efficient than the crazy water lathes they’re using now on the aluminum.

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