Apple plans ‘breakthrough product’ made from Liquidmetal
Apple will use Liquidmetal technology in a “breakthrough product”, one of its inventors has claimed.
By Shane Richmond
Liquidmetal is a new alloy, also known as metallic glass, which Apple licensed in 2010. Rumours last month suggested that the next iPhone, expected later this year, would have a Liquidmetal case.
Atakan Peker, one of the inventors of the technology, told Business Insider: “I expect Apple to use this technology in a breakthrough product. Such product will likely bring an innovative user interface and industrial design together, and will also be very difficult to copy or duplicate with other material technologies.”
Liquidmetal has been used by other manufacturers, including Samsung and Nokia, in the past but only for smaller components. Since 2010, Apple has had an exclusive licence to use the technology in consumer electronics but so far it has used it only for the iPhone SIM card ejector pin.
Mr Peker said: “Liquidmetal is super strong, scratch and corrosion resistant, resilient and can be precision cast into complex shapes. The benefits will be in the form of strong and aesthetic structural components, such as casing and frames.”
He said that it was unlikely that Apple would be able to make an entire product casing from Liquidmetal “in the near term”.
He said: “It’s more likely in the form of a small component such as a hinge or bracket. A MacBook casing, such as a unibody, will take two to four more years to implement.”
Mr Peker said Liquidmetal was not yet perfected and Apple would need to “spend on the order of $300 million to $500 million – and three to five years – to mature the technology before it can be used in large scale.”
His comments suggest that Apple might not be ready to make an iPhone case out of Liquidmetal. However, reports from a Korean news outlet last month suggest that a new breakthrough in ‘superspeed pulse mould technology’ had made it possible to use the material for phone casings.