Why the 2017 iPhone will be made of Liquidmetal

“Over the past few months, we’ve heard various rumors that this year’s iPhone will look ‘similar’ to the iPhone 6s with a few changes including the removal of the headphone jack, some antenna lines, and the introduction of a dual-lens system,” Abdel Ibrahim writes for AppAdvice. “We’ve also heard that next year’s iPhone is supposed to be something more significant.”

“While it’s easy to look at this as pure speculation and dismiss it entirely, I think these rumors are true. Why? Because 2017 just so happens to be the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone,” Ibrahim writes. “I also believe that the 2017 iPhone will use Liquid Metal as its primary material.”

“In the reports we’ve often seen, we keep hearing the use of the word ‘glass.’ In March, reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple would move away from a metal case and would a adopt a ‘curved glass casing’ along with an AMOLED display,” Ibrahim writes. “Fast forward to April and now Kuo reports that Apple will move to an ‘all-glass enclosure.’ The problem is that he thinks the glass is Gorilla Glass. I believe he’s wrong. I think what he’s describing is Liquid Metal.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The timeframe would be right.

I estimate that Apple will likely spend on the order of $300 million to $500 million — and three to five years — to mature the technology before it can used in large scale. — Dr. Atakan Peker, one of the Caltech researchers who invented Liquidmetal, May 2012

Professor behind Liquidmorphium Turing Phone invests in Liquidmetal, named to Board, enters into cross-licensing agreement – March 14, 2016
The Turing Phone is not made out of Liquidmetal – July 15, 2015
Why does Apple keep extending their partnership with Liquidmetal? – June 25, 2015
Apple extends Liquidmetal exclusivity deal through February 2016 – June 23, 2015
Two new Liquidmetal patent filings from Apple revealed; list watch and jewelry among potential uses – April 23, 2015
Liquidmetal’s Apple alliance yet to bear fruit – September 30, 2014
Apple’s new Liquidmetal-related patent sparks speculation – July 7, 2014
Apple patents method for embedding sapphire displays in LiquidMetal device chassis – May 27, 2014
Liquidmetal-Visser agreement paves the way for more rapid adoption of amorphous metal manufacturing – May 21, 2014
Apple extends Liquidmetal exclusivity deal through February 2015 – May 21, 2014

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


    1. LiquidMetal has become another Apple TV that was said to be released every year since 2009.

      Also, this guy’s reasoning is wrong. The only thing that LM has common with glass is its amorphous atom structure. Otherwise there is nothing in common as LM is metal — it does not allow radio nor optical ways.

      So if Ming-Chi Kuo is right, Apple will use actual glass (or a sapphire, though it will not be curved), not LM, which is five times pricier than Apple’s aluminium alloy.

      Another issue is that Apple usually hates limitations such as inability to uses LM in watches — for that LM is exclusively licensed to Swiss watch makers, and it is basically perpetual license, just like Apple’s on electronics.

      So Apple’s move might be coming up with different amorphous alloy that could be as good or better as LM, but Apple will free to use it in any and all of its devices. The issue of price, however, will not go away since even price of five basic metals combined in the alloy is, as I wrote, fivefold of aluminum — let alone expenses on how to actually melt those metals in a way that they would be able to create uniformly amorphous atom structure.

      1. The material may be more expensive, but if Apple can injection mold cases rather than machine them they should easily be able to achieve a lower finished price. I also believe that Apples license for electronic devices would cover the Watch, which is a wearable electronic computing device.

        1. For years that price is still prohibitive, and this is why Apple still did not use LM to maky any enclosures.

          As to Watches, Apple itself states their Watch are watch. And Swiss produce electronic watches with use of LM, so it shows that they have license for it.

          Apple will not be able to use LM in Apple Watch.

          1. I don’t know. What we do know is that Apple has been working for years on devising manufacturing methods for LM. It *is* possible that they have a production method that is now cost-effective. Time will tell. I also don’t think it is a foregone conclusion that the fact that the Swiss have used LM in watches precludes Apple using in their Watch. Have seen any declarative statements from any source on this subject?

            1. Yes, I’ve seen that. But I still don’t think that would hold up to exclude Apple from using LM on their Watch if they chose to. It’s a gray area that may end up being litigated.

  1. This would be great if true. As all smartphones turn into slabs of glass, differentiated mostly by software, this once again gives Apple a hardware advantage hard to replicate by other manufacturers.

    It also shows once again how Apple really screwed up with their naming convention. If Apple’s iPhone 7 looks exactly like an iPhone 6S people are going to be upset because they were expecting a redesign (tick year). When the real redesign happens in 2017, it won’t sound as nice celebrating Apple’s 10th anniversary with an iPhone 7S. It should have been an iPhone 10.

  2. “really screwed up their naming convention”

    Hyperbole much? Apple can name their products anything they want and change it at anytime. Bet you were one of those guys who said “they’re running out of names for cats…OSX is doomed!”

  3. I have been wondering if Apple is using Liqudmetal in their chips. It would explain how they can get power out of small spaces. Of course it would be fun to think their new car would be made of it.

  4. I hadn’t seen that video before. Blew my mind! But how does LiquidMetal respond to compression and tension? If the material has low plasticity how does it bend? What kind of resonant frequency would the body of an iPhone have? If it was dropped would the resulting high frequency resonance shake the electronics apart?

  5. So, if using Liquidmetal becomes uniformly popular, and if I drop my iPhone 7 on a street surface made of Liquidmetal, will I have to wait a full minute before I’ll be able to pick it up off the street? I could imagine some fun flash mob events!

    Reminds me of: Superball.

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