Liquidmetal Stories March 8, 2016

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When Apple signed an exclusive deal to use the superstrong alloy liquidmetal way back in 2010, there was a lot of speculation about how Apple might use it. The only immediate answer we saw was in the SIM ejection tool supplied with iPhones.

While some had expected Apple to use liquidmetal for product casings, the high cost of the material seemed to rule that out, at least in the short-term. There’s also been no sign of the super long-lasting batteries some had suggested.

But Apple clearly does have a use for it beyond SIM eject tools, last year renewing those exclusive rights – and a patent granted to the company today suggests one possible reason why …

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Liquidmetal Stories June 23, 2015

Apple extends its exclusive rights to Liquidmetal for another year

After Apple’s original contract securing the rights to use Liquidmetal’s unique metal alloy in consumer electronic products was extended through February 2015, today proof comes that Apple has once again secured rights for another year, hinting at its continued interest in the material.

On June 17, 2015, Liquidmetal Technologies, Inc. (the “Company”) and Apple Inc. (“Apple”) entered into a third amendment (the “Third Amendment”) to the Master Transaction Agreement that was originally entered into on August 5, 2010 and amended on June 15, 2012 and May 17, 2014 (the “MTA”). Under the MTA and its first two amendments in 2012 and 2014, 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, 2015, 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 Third Amendment, the parties agreed to extend the February 5, 2015 date to February 5, 2016. The Third Amendment has an effective date of February 26, 2015.

While Apple has yet to use the material in its products, apart from reportedly testing the material in its SIM card injector tool, back in 2012 Liquidmetal’s inventor noted that it would likely take three to five years before the material would be ready for use on a large scale and approximately two to four more years to implement in something like a MacBook casing. What’s more likely is Apple using the technology for smaller parts first, like a hinge or a bracket, according to its inventor. Watchmakers have notably made use of the material for components of traditional watches.

(via MacRumors)

Liquidmetal Stories May 21, 2014

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

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Liquidmetal Stories July 17, 2013

Apple/Liquidmetal patent hints at high-volume production capabilities

In the past, Apple was able to sneak Liquidmetal into production by building the SIM ejector tool using the material. Now, it looks like Apple and Liquidmetal Technologies’ joint venture company, Crucible Intellectual Property, is preparing for mass volume production through manufacturing techniques found in a new patent called “Bulk amorphous alloy sheet forming processes”.

Since the metal is expensive,  liquidmetal won’t be replacing the aluminum shells of iOS or OS X devices anytime soon. However, it could easily replace glass in some areas, since it is strong and radio transparent.

No matter the case, it’s intriguing to see the progress with this new technology and this patent seems to indicate its high-volume debut may be nearing.

(via Engadget)

Liquidmetal Stories February 12, 2013

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. expand full story

Liquidmetal Stories June 18, 2012

Apple extends deal with Liquidmetal Technologies until 2014

As noted by MacRumors, a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing revealed today that Liquidmetal Technologies will continue to license its technology to Apple through Feb. 5, 2014. The previous deal from 2010 gave Apple rights to the patented amorphous metal alloys through Feb. 5 2012. As of yet, we only know Apple has tested Liquidmetal in its iPhone SIM card ejector tools, but we recently heard CEO Thomas Steipp (above) hinting that Apple plans to commercialize the technology. Rumors in April indicated it could be used in products on a larger scale within a few years.

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