Metal ▪ July 4

Apple knew it had something special to share with the world when it released iPhoto in 2002: in addition to printing 20″ by 30″ poster-sized photos, the original iPhoto’s “most stunning feature” (according to Apple) was a page layout tool that quickly turned digital photo collections into printed hardcover books. These were Apple’s acknowledgements that tangible photos still had value in a digital era, and it subsequently added calendars, greeting cards, softcover books, and letterpress cards to iPhoto. Apple’s newer app Photos for Mac hides these options under the File menu at the top of the screen, and hasn’t expanded on them, a shame considering how nice the results look.

But apart from including the poster options in 2002, Apple never added “large-format art” to the list of things its photo apps could produce. Back in 2002, digital cameras were so low-resolution that they struggled to produce pixel-free 4″ by 6″ photos, so it’s no surprise that Apple wasn’t trying to build a market for large prints. Thankfully, a lot has changed since then. Canon currently sells two 50-Megapixel cameras, Sony has one 42-Megapixel camera, and Nikon offers four 36-Megapixel cameras. iPhones and iPads can create up to 43-Megapixel ultra-wide panoramas. A large, properly-composed print from any of these cameras (or even the more common 20- to 25-Megapixel cameras people are using today) will look amazing hanging on the wall of your home or office… if you know how to do it.

I wanted to see what the best options were for large-format photography, so I reached out to a collection of excellent art print services to see how digital photos would look on metal, glass, and canvas — materials Photos doesn’t offer. In Part 1 of this How-To guide, I’m looking at large-format metal prints that apply dyes and gloss directly onto aluminum surfaces, with results as saturated as Apple’s famous “nanochromatic” iPod nanos. A new Part 2 looks at large-format canvas and glass prints. Read on for all the details…

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Metal ▪ April 24

As users unbox their new Apple Watch units today, customers who bought the Sport version are receiving a bit of a surprise. The inductive charging cable bundled with Apple Watch Sport is actually made of plastic rather than the nice metal finishes of the more expensive stainless steel and gold watches.

The material is very similar to other Apple accessories which have white gloss exteriors. It’s unclear why the Sport does not get the fancier cable: it may be simply for cost-saving purposes to maximize Apple’s bottom line or it may be a design choice to better match the materials of the Watch itself.

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Metal ▪ November 6, 2014

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The team at Frostbite, the gaming engine behind many popular console titles and more recent mobile games, today published a blog post showing off a tech demo of the graphically demanding Battlefield 4 console game running on an iPad. The company previously showed off what the Frostbite engine was capable of with the Battlefield 4 Commander app and the Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare tech demo it showed off at WWDC, but the Battlefield 4 tech demo was made possible thanks to some big graphics improvements courtesy of Apple’s new Metal graphics API.

The team says “Metal has created possibilities previously out of reach and for the first time we can include both high visual fidelity and a large number of objects.” expand full story

Metal ▪ September 18, 2014

Metal ▪ May 21, 2014

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Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean watch with Liquidmetal

Apple has extended its rights to the metal alloy material that it originally licensed from Liquidmetal Technologies in 2010 for exclusive use in consumer electronics products. The proof comes from a recent filing with the SEC:

On May 19, 2014, Liquidmetal Technologies, Inc. (the “Company”) and Apple Inc. (“Apple”) entered into an second amendment (the “Second Amendment”) to the Master Transaction Agreement that was originally entered into on August 5, 2010 (the “MTA”) and amended on June 15, 2012 (the “First Amendment”). Under the MTA and the First Amendment, the Company was obligated to contribute to Crucible Intellectual Property, LLC, a special purpose subsidiary of the Company, all intellectual property acquired or developed by the Company from August 5, 2010 through February 5, 2014, and all intellectual property held by Crucible Intellectual Property, LLC was exclusively licensed on a perpetual basis to Apple for the field of use of consumer electronic products under the MTA. Under the Second Amendment, the parties agreed to amend the MTA and the First Amendment to extend the February 5, 2014 date to February 5, 2015.

Up until now Apple has tested the material in its SIM card ejector tool that came with previous generation iPhones, but several rumors in recent years have claimed it could take advantage of Liquidmetal for batteries, screws or other components of its products. However, back in 2012, one of Liquidmetal’s inventors noted that Apple was likely still three to five years away from using the material on a large scale in products: expand full story

Metal ▪ April 18, 2012

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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