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Apple secures Liquidmetal exclusivity for two more years

post #1 of 16
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A filing with the U.S. Securiites and Exchange Commission reveals that Apple has re-upped its exclusive agreement to license Liquidmetal intellectual property, extending the company's perpetual access to any further advancements until early 2014.

While a Liquidmetal-sporting next-generation iPhone may not be in the cards for a 2012 release, Apple is presumably looking into fashioning products out of the unique metal that could make their debut sometime in the next two years.

The SEC document, originally filed on Friday and announced on Monday, is an extension to a Master Transaction Agreement (MTA) into which the two companies originally entered in August of 2010. Under the terms of the initial MTA Apple contributed $20 million to Liquidmetal subsidiary Crucible Intellectual Property, LLC, in return for exclusive perpetual rights to any IP created or acquired by the company for use in the iPad maker's products. That agreement ended in early February.

With the new amended document, Apple extends the terms of the original filing to February 2014, giving the Cupertino-based computer giant an extra two years of exclusive access to further development or new inventions from Liquidmetal that will be perpetually licensed under the MTA.



It was rumored in April that the next-generation iPhone would be made from the alloy, however Liquidmetal inventor Dr. Atakan Peker said in May it would cost $300 million to $500 million dollars and at least three years of development to ready the metal for mass production yields.

Liquidmetal is a super-strong metal alloy with unique properties would be suitable for use in a number of consumer product applications. Apple first used the metal in a SIM card ejector tool for the iPhone 3G though it seems the small implementation was a test and the material has yet to make a follow-up appearance.
post #2 of 16
*Phew* I was worried they'd have to move to aluminum for their SIM removal tool.

Originally Posted by Marvin

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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #3 of 16

Why don't they just buy the company?
 

post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

*Phew* I was worried they'd have to move to aluminum for their SIM removal tool.

I really wouldn't be surprised to see a liquidmetal iPhone case very soon. The technology is ideal for a cell phone back - cast to final size with almost no post-machining needed. And the amount of metal in a cell phone back is so small that even if the material is 10 times the cost of aluminum, it would still be cheaper overall.
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Gatorguy 5/31/13
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Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #5 of 16

Shoot, I thought Apple owned the rights in perpetuity.

post #6 of 16

Exclusive Apple Insider comment scoop... The magsafe 2 connector is formed with liquid metal...  

post #7 of 16
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Originally Posted by Chronique View Post

Exclusive Apple Insider comment scoop... The magsafe 2 connector is formed with liquid metal...  

Did you drop it and it bounced? lol.gif

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #8 of 16
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Originally Posted by MacVicta View Post

Why don't they just buy the company?

 

That's my question. If Apple come out with something mind blowing all that will happen is the company would cost more. On top of that, once the copy cats have seen Apple's use they could blackmail Apple with offers of licensing it to Samsung et al have it if they don't renew again at higher price. If Apple really have a major use why not buy the company. Tim is no idiot he must have a strategy but darned if I can figure it out.
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post #9 of 16
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Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

Shoot, I thought Apple owned the rights in perpetuity.

It seemed that way on previous discussions.
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post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

It seemed that way on previous discussions.
I may be remembering incorrectly but I though that Apple had a certain window of time to use it or loose it.
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post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

*Phew* I was worried they'd have to move to aluminum for their SIM removal tool.


Good one.  Liquidmetal is the most highly overrated tech of the year.  Believe me, a SIM removal tool made of Liquidmetal is not a very impressive use for some extremely hyped material.  I'm getting sick of hearing about it will possibly be used in every future Apple product.

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post


Good one.  Liquidmetal is the most highly overrated tech of the year.  Believe me, a SIM removal tool made of Liquidmetal is not a very impressive use for some extremely hyped material.  I'm getting sick of hearing about it will possibly be used in every future Apple product.

Congratulations on commenting on something that you obviously don't understand.

The SIM removal tool wasn't the reason Apple wanted to look at liquidmetal - it was simply a demo to prove that it could be practical in large quantities.

Liquidmetal has some very unique properties and has a number of valuable uses. Look at their web site for some of the diagnostic equipment that's being made with LM. The biggest advantage is that you can do a near-net-shape casting which isn't possible with crystalline metals. Take the rumored back of the next iPhone. To make that with conventional technology, you have two choices:
1. Start with sheet metal and do a deep draw - which creates the possibility of cracking. Then you have to machine all the holes and slots. Plus, you can't make screw attachment points with drawn sheet metal so you have to weld those on.
or
2. Start with a block of metal and machine it via CNC. Very time consuming.

With LM, you need to spend a lot of time in developing the mold, but once you do so, you can cast the part by the thousands in just minutes per part. No post machining is necessary, or possibly just a light touchup. Plus, the part would be more impact resistant and stretch resistant than either of the above methods.

It's not there yet for production of millions of items (SIM removal tool notwithstanding), but it's really got a lot of potential. That is why a company with less than a million dollars a year in revenues and losing a million dollars or more per year has a $43 M market cap. Obviously a lot of people see it as more than an 'extremely hyped material'.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacVicta View Post

Why don't they just buy the company?
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


That's my question. If Apple come out with something mind blowing all that will happen is the company would cost more. On top of that, once the copy cats have seen Apple's use they could blackmail Apple with offers of licensing it to Samsung et al have it if they don't renew again at higher price. If Apple really have a major use why not buy the company. Tim is no idiot he must have a strategy but darned if I can figure it out.

They probably didn't want to be bought, so Apple did the next best thing.

post #14 of 16

I wonder if the SIM ejector works for all Apple hardware that used to require a paperclip.  Probably not long enough.

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacVicta View Post

Why don't they just buy the company?
 


I wouldn't sell. Steve wouldn't have sold. Would you?

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacVicta View Post

Why don't they just buy the company?
They deal in existing lines of business that Apple likely has no interest in supporting or discontinuing (offshore drilling, sporting goods, medical instruments, etc.). There is incredible potential in this technology to revolutionize the materials comprising thousands of manufactured goods we interact with every day.

I believe the ex-CEO quoted above made that statement after leaving the company, with little motivation to be optimistic and little understanding of the R&D capabilities of a company with $100B in the bank and the innovative drive of Apple. It's entirely possible that the iPhone we see this fall could include a Liquidmetal backplate.
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