17 new Apple patent applications detail Liquidmetal alloy use in device buttons, touch sensors, and more

“Back in 2010, Apple signed an exclusive agreement with Caltech spinoff Liquidmetal Technologies, providing Apple with the rights to use Liquidmetal’s advanced metal alloys for consumer electronics purposes,” Eric Slivka reports for MacRumors. “Liquidmetal’s amorphous metal alloys or bulk metallic glasses posses a number of characteristic properties such as high strength and corrosion resistance while remaining relatively light and able to be cast into a variety of forms.”

“Apple quietly tested Liquidmetal’s alloys in the SIM card eject tool for the iPhone 3G, but the materials have otherwise not been confirmed to have appeared in any other Apple products,” Slivka reports. “Evidence of Apple’s continued interest with Liquidmetal alloys has surfaced a number of times over the past several years, including in a granted patent from July covering a process for mass producing thin sheets of the Liquidmetal alloys and a series of technical patent applications published in November describing methods of working with the alloys to create products.”

“A number of patent applications addressing additional innovations with Liquidmetal alloys have been published since that time, including a batch of 17 applications published just this past Thursday,” Slivka reports. “All of these patent applications were filed in June or July of 2012, suggesting that Apple may have made significant progress on these disclosed inventions since that time.”

Read more in the full article here.

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11 Comments

  1. Still waiting for a meaningful application of Liquidmetal technology in Apple products! I know, Apple does things in its own time according to its own schedule and judgment. But I sure would like to see more Liquidmetal material used in Apple’s iOS products to help further differentiate them from the Android iPhone and iPad copiers. Of course, the upcoming sapphire displays will also be a big selling point for Apple.

  2. Apple already does transparent aluminium.

    Look at the Apple wireless keyboard or the underneath of a wireless mouse when they’re connecting to the host Mac. The green LED shines right through the smooth aluminium casing. If you use a magnifying glass, you might work out how it’s done.

  3. I’m not going to lie, I hope to make a killing on LQMT stock when Apple 1) shows the world how it’s best used (their exclusivity is only in the realm of electronics) and 2) makes the mere idea of using liquidmetal sexy. The price debuted at $20 back in the day and hovered around $1 for a long time. Today it’s at about $0.22.

    1. I hear ya. I bought a 1000 shares back in Apr 2012 when I first read about Apple becoming interested in LQMT. I’m down about 50%, but hanging in there. I think there is still potential.

  4. yes I have 10K shares and been taking my profit since buying it at .06, .12, and .15 cents. I am really hoping it hits it’s all time high of $20/share in the next few years. I can’t see why making at least 80 million devices per quarter. I’ll just keep taking my profit and buying it back at the lows until then.

  5. Liquid metal in a 3D printer and call it Zirconia.

    Who cares about tinsel strength and shaving grams of weight from a handheld device by replacing the buttons? I don’t, and my Apple products have never been a burden to pack around.

    Liquid metal by its very name means it could be subjected to injection moulding to produce wrist watches but for now their vision appears to be lamination; thin plates stacked and routed to produce unique shapes to house a computer.

    But, the very idea Apple has to resort to exotic metals and precious gems to differentiate their product is ludicrous and Apple will teach Rolex what distinction really feels like.

    Apple is poised to capture 10% of a 60-billion dollar watch market. By bringing a computer for the wrist to the tech market, every iWatch sold takes a sale away from a watchmaker.

    Exotic metals and gems will be needed to justify a $2500 Couture watch from Apple. But for the rest of us plain vanilla Apple loyalists we’ll be content to know that the same engine powering our $600 watches also powers Apple’s most expensive one.

    1. “But, the very idea Apple has to resort to exotic metals and precious gems to differentiate their product is ludicrous” is your idea, don’t put words into Apple’s mouth or pretend you speak for them.

      Apple uses the best material and process for the product, if it doesn’t exist, they try to invent or find it. Its not to ‘differentiate’ their products, its to make them the best product possible for the best production price.

      Not sure why you think exotic (or did you mean precious?) metals are needed to justify a watch from Apple, or why you think said watch (If they are really working on one) would cost as much as a base model Mac Pro.

      1. “is your idea, don’t put words into Apple’s mouth or pretend you speak for them.”

        It wasn’t my idea. I was inspired by the First Poster.

        As for the price of the watch, Rolex sells the Oyster Perpetual for $71,000 and all its a timepiece.

        Would you pay that much for a timepiece darknite? Sure you would, but you can’t fathom Apple creating a watch for the same price?

        I can and will. When Sir Ive introduces iWatch Red and it auctions for a 100-grand.

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