Liquidmetal? Apple supplier experimenting with metal case for 6.1-inch LCD iPhone for 2018

“Apple is likely to release another new iPhone with a liquid crystal display next year, according to a source privy to the company’s product designs. The source also said Apple is tentatively planning two new handsets equipped with organic light-emitting diode displays,” Debby Wu reports for Nikkei. “‘The 6.1-inch LCD model will probably sport a metal back [like older iPhones] available in several colors,’ said the source, adding that the two OLED handsets will come in two sizes: one about 6.3 inches long and the other 5.8 inches.”

“If Apple does use metal backs for the next iPhone, Casetek, a subsidiary of iPhone assembler Pegatron, could become a supplier for the first time,” Wu reports. “The source said that there was a good chance that Casetek would win orders for the LCD model.”

“Another source familiar with the situation said Casetek has been experimenting with new casings for the LCD-equipped iPhone,” Wu reports. “An industry executive said that Pegatron and Casetek may be able to integrate their offerings for iPhone orders next year by virtue of their close links, much like Foxconn does with its own metal frame and casing production unit.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Of course, they could be experimenting with aluminum or some other metal(s), but the timeframe would be about right, if not slightly overdue, for Apple to begin using Liquidmetal in earnest. It would certainly be another strong (literally) point of differentiation from the iPhone knockoffs.

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

Apple patent describes Liquidmetal housing for electronic devices – January 27, 2017
Evidence suggests Apple to use breakthrough Liquidmetal somewhere soon – October 18, 2016
Apple supplier Catcher CEO: One iPhone model will adopt glass casing next year – May 19, 2016
Apple granted key U.S patent for Touch ID fingerprint recognition integrated into Multi-Touch display – May 18, 2016
Apple supplier LG Innotek embeds fingerprint sensor into display – May 4, 2016
Why the 2017 iPhone will be made of Liquidmetal – April 18, 2016
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple’s 2017 iPhone to feature new ‘all glass’ enclosure – April 18, 2016
Professor behind Liquidmorphium Turing Phone invests in Liquidmetal, named to Board, enters into cross-licensing agreement – March 14, 2016
3D fingerprint sensors under Gorilla Glass may let Apple kill iPhone’s Home button – July 21, 2015
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
Apple working on eliminating the Home button on iPhone, iPad, sources say – June 22, 2015
Two new Liquidmetal patent filings from Apple revealed; list watch and jewelry among potential uses – April 23, 2015
Apple files for patent to move Touch ID fingerprint scanner from home button to display – February 9, 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


    1. Do you actually believe that unicorn tears are mere water? 😉

      You *will* find out more about the new Mac Pro soon. Not soon enough, I know, but the new Mac Pro is coming in 2018. Phil Schiller provided some general guidance on the Mac Pro at the WWDC keynote in June 2017. Given that WWDC is one of the few major public Mac events left, Apple has to make good on those promises. The best estimates that I have read say that you should keep your eyes and ears open in April 2018. Not soon enough, but not all that far away…

  1. More likely an iPhone SE 2 plus to go along with the SE 2 coming in March, 2018. Both may feature Face ID, LCD, aluminum casing, same rear camera and internals as the 8, use the A11, and no wireless charging. The 2018 iPhone X and X plus will feature the A12.

  2. If metal case and wireless charging can go together then yes but otherwise no high end iPhone will have a metal back.
    Agree that this could be a newer version of the SE although I would see there is risk on introducing a low end SE Plus.
    Typically for SE, Apple use an existing form factor which means the 6S would move to SE. Again that would allow for SE Plus to be introduced. Would increase sales of SE Plus be worth affecting the current 6S and 7 Plus models?

    1. “If metal case and wireless charging can go together then yes”
      Google liquidmetal. This material would work well in wireless charging applications, and is probably the main feature that has me thinking that they’re working with liquidmetal.

      Add to that, the fact that the liquidmetal company has been purchasing heavy equipment over the last year ostensibly for the medical market.

  3. Clearly iPhoneX isn’t going back to Ali backs but then I don’t see anything there saying that the X will have Ali backs. So if however it is referring to them then finally LM may well be making its true launch. If this is just updates of the older design be it SE or an iPhone9 to finish off that iteration then it may still be Ali I would have thought as wireless is no certainty for them is it. Or it could be talk about versions that will never actually make it to market at all.

  4. So now there is a big on MDN that, apparently, pulls focus down to the ad right above the comments section of thse page, making it impossible to read the article. This is happening in the iOS app on my iPad.

    You really need to find another ad server – your app is getting to be unusable because of this shit.

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