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Apple Unlikely to Use Liquidmetal Alloys as Major Design Material for Several Years

With many hoping that Apple will undertake a significant redesign effort for the next-generation iPhone, scattered claims have fueled speculation that Apple might base the design on amorphous metal alloys from Liquidmetal Technologies. Apple acquired exclusive rights to Liquidmetal's technologies for use in consumer electronics back in 2010, but so far as used the metal only in the iPhone 3G SIM removal tool.


Atakan Peker, one of the inventors of Liquidmetal alloys, reports in a new interview with Business Insider that Apple is unlikely to use the alloys as a major component for at least two to four years. The company may find uses for Liquidmetal alloys in minor capacities before that time, as it did with the SIM removal tool, but mass production on the scale needed for full device casings is still some time off.
Q: I've heard rumors that future MacBooks from Apple could use Liquidmetal casing, what would that be like? Is it likely to happen?

A: Given the size of MacBook and scale of Apple products, I think it's unlikely that Liquidmetal casing will be used in MacBooks in the near term. It's more likely in the form of small component such as a hinge or bracket. A MacBook casing, such as a unibody, will take two to four more years to implement.
While Peker does not have direct knowledge of Apple's plans for Liquidmetal alloys, he does expect that the company will seek to make a major impact with it and to use it in a breakthrough product down the road. In Peker's view, Apple will likely take advantage of the alloys' strength and durability, as well as the ease with which they can be cast into complex shapes, to bring a unique product to the market.

Top Rated Comments

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26 months ago

I guess maybe I'm confused or just don't fully understand the benefits of Liquidmetal, but what's the big deal about this? The current batch of Apple products all seem pretty solid. Both my iPhone 4S and iPad 2 have taken drops to hard floors and came away with barely a scratch. What are the benefits of switching from the current materials to Liquidmetal?


Extreme bounciness. Not only will you have to pick up your damaged iPhone, you will have to chase it down the street!
Rating: 28 Positives
26 months ago
Phew! Disaster averted.... For now. :cool:ILL BE BACK
Rating: 21 Positives
26 months ago

So... Skynet gets put off a few more years?


That'll be iNet.
Rating: 20 Positives
26 months ago
So the MacBook is too big for the material? Okay... what about the iPhone??
Rating: 19 Positives
26 months ago
So no Apple T-1000 in our homes yet? too bad :(
Rating: 19 Positives
26 months ago
The title should read - "Apple unlikely to design anything at all for several years"



WANT NEW IMAC
Rating: 18 Positives
26 months ago

So... Skynet gets put off a few more years?


I think it's too late for that…



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I guess maybe I'm confused or just don't fully understand the benefits of Liquidmetal, but what's the big deal about this? The current batch of Apple products all seem pretty solid. Both my iPhone 4S and iPad 2 have taken drops to hard floors and came away with barely a scratch. What are the benefits of switching from the current materials to Liquidmetal?


Super bouncy iPhones of course!

Rating: 18 Positives
26 months ago

I think it's too late for that…

Image (http://shirtshovel.com/products/internet/skynet-434.jpg)

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Super bouncy iPhones of course!

YouTube: video (http://youtube.com/watch?v=rOEBR3DcqN0)



So 240p, we meet again...
Rating: 14 Positives
26 months ago

The title should read - "Apple unlikely to design anything at all for several years"



WANT NEW IMAC


It's actually weird to think about but wow, Apple really hasn't had a new design in a while. iPhone 4 was 2010, MBP was 2008, MBA was 2010, iPad was early 2011 (the 2012 ipad wasn't a redesign), iMac was, well, I don't even remember. But I'm sure Sir Jonathan Ives and his team have some great designs coming out the near future! :D
Rating: 14 Positives
26 months ago

Anyone know what the major benefit/advancement of this material is? I haven't heard anything concrete about what it really does.


Liquidmetal doesn't harden into a crystalline molecular structure like most metals and metal alloys do. It behaves almost like plastic in that it can be heated until it gets soft, then pressed into a complex shape. It doesn't have to be completely melted into a liquid and then poured into a mold like most metals.

So what's the advantage? Well, first of all, you don't need to heat Liquidmetal all the way up to its melting point to shape it. Less energy required. Second, because it never becomes a runny liquid, it's somewhat easier to control and to press into complex shapes. That means simpler molding and few if any grinding/drilling steps, which take time and energy and require additional machinery.

Other advantages include corrosion resistance and scratch resistance. Disadvantages include cost (at least in the original formulation) because of platinum being part of the formula.
Rating: 12 Positives

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