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Liquidmetal created SIM ejector tool for Apple's iPhone, iPad

post #1 of 68
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Liquidmetal, the maker of a super-strong metal alloy that recently signed an exclusive deal with Apple, already partnered with the Cupertino, Calif., company to create the materials for the SIM ejector tool that has shipped with the iPhone and 3G iPad.

Atakan Peker, co-creator of the Liquidmetal alloy, told Cult of Mac that he recognized the metal when he opened his iPhone 3G years ago. The site also independently confirmed the use of the alloy as a test of the company's manufacturing capabilities.

In addition, people familiar with the matter also informed AppleInsider that the SIM ejector tool found in previous-generation iPhones was made of the alloy from Liquidmetal. In the U.S., the iPhone 4 does not ship with the SIM ejector tool.

"That's my metal," Peker reportedly said. "I recognized it immediately. Take it from an expert, that's Liquidmetal." He added that the alloy is "practically unbendable by hand unless you want to hurt or cut your fingers."

Peker is co-inventor of Liquidmetal, an alloy created at the California Institute of Technology. Last week, AppleInsider revealed that Apple had entered into an exclusive agreement with Liquidmetal Technologies, the corporation that owns the invention.

The amorphous, non-crystalline material is 2.5 times the strength of commonly used titanium alloy and 1.5 times the hardness of stainless steel found in portable electronic devices. Introduced for commercial applications in 2003, the product has since been found in medical equipment, sporting goods, and equipment used by the U.S. Department of Defense.

iPhone 3G SIM card ejector tool. Photo via Flickr user Jamie McCall.

Liquidmetal Technologies has granted all of its intellectual property assets to Apple, under a worldwide agreement that gives Apple the exclusive rights to use the alloy in electronic products. Liquidmetal is still allowed to license its alloy to other companies for use outside of markets where Apple competes.

The deal between Apple and Liquidmetal is believed to be worth at least $10.9 million, as the metal maker announced last week that its deal with Apple allowed it to immediately pay off that much in debt. The debt payments were made Aug. 5, the very same day that Apple and Liquidmetal entered into their agreement.
post #2 of 68
Liquid metal vs paperclip for the ejector tool. I can always find a paperclip, but can't seem to find that ejector tool at times.
post #3 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The deal between Apple and Liquidmetal is believed to be worth at least $10.9 million, as the metal maker announced last week that its deal with Apple allowed it to immediately pay off that much in debt. The debt payments were made Aug. 5, the very same day that Apple and Liquidmetal entered into their agreement.

Might be worth more. If they felt they could eventually pay a reasonable debt off, maybe they only used a portion of this deal and they've got the rest collecting interest somewhere...
post #4 of 68
A company that actually makes something useful (the metal, not the unbendable paperclip)... too bad they are in debt. Tired of hearing about these IP Holding companies pillaging the industry.

My guess is Apple is using the metal to make an Iron Man suit for Jonathan Ives. :-)
post #5 of 68
Wow, they were really put to the test when charged with creating the SIM ejector tool. Since my iPhone4 didn't ship with one of these marvels of engineering, I was forced to develop my own: a paperclip.
post #6 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

Liquid metal vs paperclip for the ejector tool. I can always find a paperclip, but can't seem to find that ejector tool at times.

Glass half-empty much?
post #7 of 68
I didn't get any ejector tool with my old iPhone 3G.

Why is Apple in bed with this company? Are they planning to make future iPhones with metal backs again? Did someone in the company finally realize making a phone completely out of glass was not a great idea?
post #8 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post

I didn't get any ejector tool with my old iPhone 3G.

Why is Apple in bed with this company? Are they planning to make future iPhones with metal backs again? Did someone in the company finally realize making a phone completely out of glass was not a great idea?

You realize that metal blocks radio transmission. Nobody has had any problems with the glass. It is a huge improvement over plastic backs.
post #9 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post

Why is Apple in bed with this company? Are they planning to make future iPhones with metal backs again? Did someone in the company finally realize making a phone completely out of glass was not a great idea?

Maybe Apple is planning on a whole new line of products:

http://www.patentlyapple.com/patentl...mart-bike.html

made from Liquid Metal

http://www.liquidmetal.com/applicati...p.sporting.asp
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post #10 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

You realize that metal blocks radio transmission. Nobody has had any problems with the glass. It is a huge improvement over plastic backs.

Lighter, thinner, stronger laptops, ipads, and iphones... who needs em, right? cause those are never dropped or carried around
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post #11 of 68
I thought my 3G didn't come with the tool for years until I got my iPhone 4 and saw where it was cunningly placed...

Weird that they don't ship the tool with iPhone 4 in the US, but do elsewhere? Why?

And why have something so over engineered in the first place? Most people will use it once, maybe twice...On the other hand, it's nice to see the use of quality materials instead of monkey metal and squeaky plastics in my kit I suppose?
post #12 of 68
Inteseresting product for a test run of the material.

I do believe this stuff is radio frequency transparent, meaning you could replace the back of iPhones and ipads with it... as well as laptop cases although I expect that to be limited by cost.
post #13 of 68
What an odd use for a new supermetal. 99+% of them will be thrown away without ever being touched. I wonder if I can find my old iPhone box and see this thing. It does say something about Apple's attention to detail though.
post #14 of 68
AI previous Discussion on Apple and Liquidmetal Technologies@

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles..._11m_debt.html

LmT site @

http://www.liquidmetal.com/index/

Beside the speculation that the material from LmT will be cast into cases for iPods, iPhones or MBP, there is the possibility that coatings may be applied to the cases to make it more affordable. Castings presently are costly and coatings may be the way to go--see

http://coatings.liquidmetal.com/
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post #15 of 68
So, its a liquid metal paperclip
post #16 of 68
This liquid metal alloy uses some expensive metals. It remains to be seen how cost effective it will be for such items at the iPad and laptop cases. In most products, an Aluminum alloy is more than enough. However, this company's product may have better uses in defense, sports, etc.

However, this company has been around for a while and sales are paltry. If they were for real the sales would be in $billions, starting with the sports industry.... for everything from bikes, rackets, golf clubs, etc.

Still, I just made a gamble bet of a few thousand shares. It is a penny stock.
post #17 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Glass half-empty much?

Depends on the topic.
post #18 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post

I didn't get any ejector tool with my old iPhone 3G.

Why is Apple in bed with this company? Are they planning to make future iPhones with metal backs again? Did someone in the company finally realize making a phone completely out of glass was not a great idea?

I suspect that Apple has considered the facts before investing $10 + million in Liquidmetal. They probably have SOME idea why they want it.
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post #19 of 68
A paperclip made from Rearden Metal? It will revolutionize the world.
post #20 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by AjitMD View Post

This liquid metal alloy uses some expensive metals. It remains to be seen how cost effective it will be for such items at the iPad and laptop cases. In most products, an Aluminum alloy is more than enough. However, this company's product may have better uses in defense, sports, etc.

For USB flash drive

http://www.motivators.com/38661-cust...s.html#pricing

http://www.everythingusb.com/sandisk...anium_2gb.html

Can also use as coatings as mentioned in my post above or see

http://coatings.liquidmetal.com/

Quote:
Originally Posted by AjitMD View Post

However, this company has been around for a while and sales are paltry. If they were for real the sales would be in $billions, starting with the sports industry.... for everything from bikes, rackets, golf clubs, etc.

See following regarding Liquidmetal Tech. in sports equipment:

http://www.liquidmetal.com/applicati...p.sporting.asp
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post #21 of 68
I have two of those tools! They're full of science!

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post #22 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

What an odd use for a new supermetal. 99+% of them will be thrown away without ever being touched. I wonder if I can find my old iPhone box and see this thing. It does say something about Apple's attention to detail though.

Yeah, but as a *test* of a new super-metal to see how sturdy it is and if the properties change over a few years or so while you are thinking of buying the rights to it ... it makes perfect sense.
post #23 of 68
I call Bullsh*t on the comment "practically unbendable by hand unless you want to hurt or cut your fingers." I've just grabbed hold of my SIM ejector tool that came with my (UK) iPhone 4 and I've managed to bend it EASILY by hand (and my fingers are definitely not bleeding). Either I'm Superman (not according to my wife) or this metal IS bendable.

Since the tool is now curved and probably no longer suitable for purpose, I want compensation for the misrepresentation - should be worth at least a couple of mill in a US court - or probably zilch in a British one...
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post #24 of 68
Would be sick if they made a Mac Pro case out of this - the all new, virtually indestructible Mac Pro.

Macbook Air would be even sicker. THey could make it even thinner. Macbook air - magically light, amazingly tough.
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post #25 of 68
Where is the story about LiquidMetal being used to create the next iPhone antenna? That story is on IntoMobile's website since yesterday. That seems the bigger story to me, who cares about a SIM card ejector - the LM antenna could be groundbreaking if true which I would imagine it is. Apple is not spending millions for only some ejector.

IntoMobile LiquidMetal iPhone antenna article:
http://www.intomobile.com/2010/08/14...al-technology/
post #26 of 68
I also say bs to the non bendable comment. I've been able to bend them and even bend it back
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post #27 of 68
Yes, the "unbendable" claim is total crap. Just managed to easily bend mine and then flatten it again using my fingers. Not as bendable as a paperclip, but eminently doable.

Maybe the firm should rename as CrippleMetal (i.e. only cripples can't bend it).

Sensitive, I know...

a
post #28 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by asterion View Post

Maybe the firm should rename as CrippleMetal (i.e. only cripples can't bend it).

So this is a school boy thread judging by the posts. Maybe not quite Cretin's Law but cretinous nonetheless. And you asterion are an idiot. Really.
post #29 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by estolinski View Post

Wow, they were really put to the test when charged with creating the SIM ejector tool. Since my iPhone4 didn't ship with one of these marvels of engineering, I was forced to develop my own: a paperclip.

I don't get why iPhone 4 didn't ship with this tool in the US.. I'm in Canada and mine came with one.. Does anyone know the reason for this??
post #30 of 68
It was pretty rigid for such a thin piece of metal. I just assumed hardened steel finished with chromium.

Does anyone know the RF variances and weight compared to other metals like steel and aluminum?


Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

My guess is Apple is using the metal to make an Iron Man suit for Jonathan Ives. :-)

We need mass produced replacement organs first. Steve may now have an interest in artificial organs after waiting for a donor that might not have arrived in time.
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post #31 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jingo View Post

I call Bullsh*t on the comment "practically unbendable by hand unless you want to hurt or cut your fingers." I've just grabbed hold of my SIM ejector tool that came with my (UK) iPhone 4 and I've managed to bend it EASILY by hand (and my fingers are definitely not bleeding). Either I'm Superman (not according to my wife) or this metal IS bendable.

Since the tool is now curved and probably no longer suitable for purpose, I want compensation for the misrepresentation - should be worth at least a couple of mill in a US court - or probably zilch in a British one...

From what I have read, not all of them are liquid metal - some of them are normal.
post #32 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreytgilbert View Post

Lighter, thinner, stronger laptops, ipads, and iphones... who needs em, right? cause those are never dropped or carried around

Yes, the chassis is clearly the vulnerable part in a Macbook Pro.
post #33 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuffe View Post

I thought my 3G didn't come with the tool for years until I got my iPhone 4 and saw where it was cunningly placed...

Weird that they don't ship the tool with iPhone 4 in the US, but do elsewhere? Why?

And why have something so over engineered in the first place? Most people will use it once, maybe twice...On the other hand, it's nice to see the use of quality materials instead of monkey metal and squeaky plastics in my kit I suppose?

I'm assuming it was to test it before they invested. If the metal was no good, I'm sure a bunch of people complaining the tool bent out of shape when they tried to eject their SIM wouldn't be a big deal... realistically most people would only need the tool once anyways when they first insert their SIM.

On the other hand, testing it on say the entire backside of the iPad, only to find out it cracks at certain temperatures or something would be much more devistating..
post #34 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuffe View Post

Weird that they don't ship the tool with iPhone 4 in the US, but do elsewhere? Why?

Could be something to do with the fact that in other countries there are multiple carriers and you don't want stock that's limited to a single supplier
post #35 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by rorybalmer View Post

I don't get why iPhone 4 didn't ship with this tool in the US.. I'm in Canada and mine came with one.. Does anyone know the reason for this??

Simple, we here stateside are locked into a single carrier, there shouldn't be a need for us to ever remove the sim card. At least from Apple & AT&T's perspective...
Dim
post #36 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post

I didn't get any ejector tool with my old iPhone 3G.

Why is Apple in bed with this company? Are they planning to make future iPhones with metal backs again? Did someone in the company finally realize making a phone completely out of glass was not a great idea?

The frames of devices could use stronger materials. The iPhone 4's internal frame and antenna is made of metal. Plus, the obvious is a replacement material for the Macbooks as they have to be machined out of a solid block of aluminum. With liquid metal the bodies of the Macbooks can be cast.
post #37 of 68
well, I went and hunted mine down cuz I wanted to see how strong it was.

its pretty dang strong. with my fingers I couldnt cause any real damage to it.

so I put it in a crack and tried to see how far it would bend and it bent pretty far and then snapped with a spark kinda like a sparkler. Pretty crazy.

but I could definitely tell it wasnt some normal metal.

so satisfying to break "space technology"
post #38 of 68
I just pulled out my ejector tool, and the damn thing morphed into a policeman!

Fortunately I live right next to an iron-casting foundry.
post #39 of 68
I purchased a carrier unlocked iPhone 4. It came with the clip. I didn't even know it was there, it was only when I realized I didn't have a paper clip that I dug through the package and found it. I had the predicatble "Oh, Apple." reaction.
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post #40 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

The frames of devices could use stronger materials. The iPhone 4's internal frame and antenna is made of metal. Plus, the obvious is a replacement material for the Macbooks as they have to be machined out of a solid block of aluminum. With liquid metal the bodies of the Macbooks can be cast.

Casting is certainly cheaper than machining, but does any one know the cost of the material that will go into the casting? What is the largest size cast that LmT have done--couldn't find anything on their web site about size.
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