Apple has been said to use the oh-so shiny Liquidmetal technology ever since the Cupertino, Calif.-based Company obtained a patent to use Liquidmetal in its products in 2o1o. Apple ran a test using Liquidmetal in its SIM card ejector tool, and it is further rumored to be investigating uses in batteries. Some even said that Liquidmetal would be used in the next iPhone. However, it is unlikely that the casing will be made of the material.
In what looks to be a video aimed toward potential investors, Liquidmetal Technologies’ CEO Tom Steipp confirmed his company’s involvement by announcing it is supplying Liquidmetal to Apple. In the video seen below, the CEO said (55 seconds): “Our technology has been commercialized in a number of accounts,most recently by Apple computer, which took a license on the product in August of 2010. [Apple] along with us are commercializing [Liquidmetal] in the consumer electronic space.”
We do not believe Steipp is confirming Liquidmetal as a feature in the next iPhone, iPad, or computer on a large-scale. Although, it appears he is confirming that Apple will/has used Liquidmetal for more expensive parts—perhaps dealing with dense batteries. It makes sense for Apple to use the best materials out there.
This is not the first time we have heard from Steipp:
Immediately before the new iPad’s event in March, Steipp announced that his company began shipping commercial parts to accounts worldwide. Of course, this probably included Apple. The press release read:
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.
While the next iPhone including liquid metal sounds great, one of the Liquidmetal investors, Atakan Peker, said last month that they are still a few years away before Liquidmetal can be used in a large scale for Apple products. What makes liquid metal so special? Peker explained in an interview:
Each material has its own advantage and disadvantages. Plastics are low cost to manufacture into complex shapes but not strong enough. Metals are strong but difficult to produce into complex shapes. And glass feels and looks beautiful but is highly fragile. Liquidmetal can combine these advantages and remedy some of these shortcomings.
It will be interesting to see how Apple uses this exotic material.
- Report: Apple building thinner and lighter Liquidmetal next-gen iPhone (9to5mac.com)
- Inventor says Apple several years away from large Liquidmetal products (9to5mac.com)
- Liquid Metal announces shipment of amorphous alloy parts on iPad 3 launch (9to5mac.com)