The US Patent & Trademark Office today published two patent applications from Apple that relate to Apple Watch. The first covers Apple considering the use of Liquidmetal (amorphous glass) for a higher-end case material and a variety of polymers for lower-end Apple Watch models.
The polymers could be used in forming a strong weave finish… In some examples, the overmold material can be a metallic material, an amorphous material such as glass, a polymeric material, or other appropriate material. An amorphous material such as glass translates to being “Liquid Metal.”
Apple notes that the overmold material can provide a pleasing look and/or feel to the surface of the device. The overmold material can also serve to enhance the durability or toughness of the backside of Apple Watch. For example, the overmold material can serve to absorb shocks and impacts during use to prevent or reduce cracking or chipping of the substrate.
Apple’s patent covers both higher end material such as liquid metal and lower cost polymers. One advantage for using polymers could be to save on costs for entry level iDevices…
MacDailyNews Take: It’d be nice to see Apple finally put their perpetual Liquidmetal license to use in Apple Watch and elsewhere!
We’re now a 3-5 years past where experts thought Apple would begin using Liquidmetal in earnest:
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