Here’s all of the public information on Apple’s watchmaking activity

Apple-iWatch-Concept-01

Since the old iWatch rumor reared its head again in December, there have been a few more reliable sources adding weight to the idea that we could see a smart watch from Apple this year. Over the weekend, The New York Times, which said essentially the same thing in 2011, followed up the rumors with a report that Apple is working on a curved glass watch prototype running iOS. The Wall Street Journal quickly followed with more information, claiming Apple and partner Foxconn are now testing wearable, watch-like devices.

While many have speculated what Apple might include in an iWatch, such as Apple employee #66 and founder of Apple’s Human Interface Group Bruce Tognazzini, all we get from reports is “curved glass” and “iOS”. Apple has clearly been testing wearable prototypes with several patents dating as far back as 2009, describing potential integration with wristwatches and iOS devices. By taking a look at the technology for watches that Apple is already experimenting with through the many publicly available patents, we put together a list of some of the features the company could very well include in an Apple-branded smart watch. Read more

Report: Apple building thinner and lighter Liquidmetal next-gen iPhone

A new report from Korean publication ETNews.com claimed industry sources confirmed Apple will use “liquid metal” technology to make a thinner and lighter next-generation iPhone. Apple acquired rights to the patented amorphous metal alloys from Liquidmetal Technologies’ in August 2010.

According to industry sources, the next flagship phones of the companies are expected to adopt unprecedented materials for their main bodies, that is, ceramic for the Galaxy S3 and liquid metal for iPhone5, both being thin, light and highly resistant to external impacts. The new phase of the rivalry is because neither one of them can get a decisive edge over the other solely with its OS and AP specifications, features or design.

Apple has been rumored in the past to be using Liquidmetal in batteries and SIM card tools, but no solid evidence has backed these claims. Today’s report continued to assert that the iPhone 5, as ETNews.com referred to the device, is expected to launch at WWDC in San Francisco this June. However, the publication does not cite a source for the location and timeframe, so it is possible it is just basing this expectation on a rumor. As MacRumors pointed out, the website has a less than perfect track record. Many industry analysts expect Apple to move its iPhone release window to September or October due to the launch date of the iPhone 4S in 2011.

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Liquid Metal announces shipment of amorphous alloy parts on iPad 3 launch

Liquidmetal Technologies just announced it has begun shipment of commercial parts to unnamed customers around the world. The announcement of the Delaware-headquartered company is conveniently timed just two hours before Apple unveils its third-generation iPad at a media even in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

The press release reads:

Liquidmetal Technologies today announced that its manufacturing operations are currently in the midst of shipping commercial parts to several of its customers world-wide. Parts delivery began this past December with continuing shipments scheduled for the months ahead.

CEO Tom Steipp noted that customers could use his company’s amorphous alloy technology to deliver “stronger, lighter, and more corrosion resistant parts.” Although no customer has been named, Apple is known to have obtained exclusive worldwide rights to use Liquidmetal’s patented metallic glass substance in consumer electronic products.

Specifically, Liquidmetal Technologies granted all of its intellectual property to Apple in 2010. There has been some speculation that the iPhone maker is already using the alloy in batteries and the SIM removal tool, but no compelling evidence has been produced to support those claims. With that in mind, the Cupertino, Calif.-headquartered consumer electronics giant has yet to make a jump from aluminum to metallic glass in its gadgets.

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