Rumor: Apple's next iPhone to have glass replaced with Liquidmetal

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  • Reply 41 of 106
    So...the next iPhone's a Terminator, huh?
  • Reply 42 of 106


    I read somewhere that the "liquidmetal" process could be used with whatever compound is in cubic zirconia gems... And that the result would be clearer than glass (visually transparent) and be a very hard/strong surface.



    If this is possible, maybe Apple plans on replacing the front glass with this material.



    If I can find any references, I'll update this post.





    Edit: Here's one reference & a quote about 60% through the article:



    Quote:

    Update August 9, 2010: On August 5, 2010, Liquidmetal Technologies, Inc., entered into a Master Transaction Agreement with Apple Inc.



    Additionally, the patent uniquely states that the display could be made of any suitable transparent material such as the exotic synthetic sapphire. So what did Apple end up using in their new iPhone 4? Aluminosilicate glass – the very same glass used in the windshields of helicopters and high-speed trains. Hell - let it be known that this kind of glass is also used in space-vehicle windows.



    Behind Apple's Stunningly Crafted iPhone is a Patent



  • Reply 43 of 106
    jnjnjnjnjnjn Posts: 588member
    A liquidmetal unibody. Just like the new MacBook (pro) and Air line.



    J.
  • Reply 44 of 106
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post


    The NEW iPhone... Now made with Liquid Metal! 'It melts near your mouth, not in your hands!' Or is it 'It melts in your hands, not near your mouth!'

    /

    /

    /



    Maybe: The new iPhone! It has a back as slippery as a liquid!
  • Reply 45 of 106
    kibitzerkibitzer Posts: 1,114member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tkulla View Post


    Reardon Steel finally finds a market. They just don't lay that many miles of railroad tracks these days...



    My brother Atlas just shrugged when he heard about it.
  • Reply 46 of 106
    i really hope this rumor is true. the advantages are pretty staggering.....



    1) liquid metal is lighter than aluminum but stronger than titanium. it's easier to cast and incredibly rigid. it's also less expensive than aluminum. it's the perfect material for making thin, strong unibody cases.



    2) it's highly scuff and dent resistant. far more so than aluminum...or especially plastic.



    3) it can be made radio-transparent so it won't interfere with antennas



    4) apple bought an exclusive, worldwide license in perpetuity to use this metal in consumer electronics. others can license it for other uses, but apple has this one to themselves.



    liquidmetal would also be an ideal material for the macbook air. super light, super rigid and no interference problems. it would be an amazing technical advantage that would be difficult for other companies to emulate, at least at first.



    i really hope this rumor is true.
  • Reply 46 of 106
    softekysofteky Posts: 135member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stelligent View Post


    This may be nitpicking. But is it possible to read the wrong implication?



    Yes, here I'll demonstrate:
    the wrong implication
    Now can we please get back to speculating about what Liquidmetal may, or may not do given that all most of us actually know about it is that it is a mixture of metals, it makes a superb SIM removal tool, and will cause one to focus on a glass cylinder for 30% longer than most other metals tested so far.
  • Reply 48 of 106
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,716member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post


    Video is impressive...not sure how it pertains to the iPhone but I think anything would be better than the current "glass" back of the 4s. It's just not comfortable or easy to hold.



    You'd get several chances at catching your phone before it lands face down?
  • Reply 49 of 106
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by drandall View Post


    2) it's highly scuff and dent resistant. far more so than aluminum?or especially plastic.



    What about scratches?



    Quote:

    liquidmetal would also be an ideal material for the macbook air. super light, super rigid and no interference problems.



    LiquidMetal AirPort family of products?
  • Reply 50 of 106
    bsimpsenbsimpsen Posts: 379member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SixPenceRicher View Post


    This is highly desirable characteristic in any product or form which could be dropped or exposed to harsh conditions. If you drop a device with a rigid metal case (which doesn't effectively store that energy), then the case will have a tendency to break. Glass is a perfect example of this characteristic: glass is brittle and is a poor conductor of energy. Therefore, when subject to a drop, glass will have a tendency to shatter (releasing the energy) -- instead of absorbing the impact elastically, then releasing the energy in the form of heat while attempting to "spring back" to its former shape).



    If phone cases are made out of this stuff, it will make for an exceptionally durable phone. Phone cases will also have less tendency to become marred from a drop, as the metal will be highly absorbent of the energy in the impact zone and won't dent as easily. If the phone's glass display is somehow protected by this material (for instance, glass recessed with a Liquidmetal lip protecting it), then the metal will have the tendency to not only protect the glass from impact (obvious), but the metal will also have a tendency to absorb the impact energy and release the energy in a way that doesn't cause either the glass or the metal body to crack, and that energy will be released in the form of motion (springiness) and heat.



    Good stuff, and a MASSIVE differentiator in the phone/device market.



    Unfortunately this is wrong. Perfectly elastic collisions release NO heat. The durability of a material has nothing to do with its elasticity. Tungsten carbide is much more elastic than steel, yet shatters on sufficient impact. Mar resistance is dependent on many things, including surface hardness, texture and substrate resiliency. This explains why silane coatings on polycarbonate (think scratch resistant eyewear) are more mar resistant than the highly polished stainless steel backs of iPods.



    I have been curious what Apple would do with its exclusive license to liquid metal technology. Some of Liquid Metal's alloys are thixotropic, with low melting temperatures. This makes them suitable for injection molding, which could be a very cost effective way to produce parts, even if material costs are high. If molded Liquid Metal exhibits good dimensional stability, it might hold the kinds of tolerances we've come to expect in the fit and finish of Apple products. The accurate and stable subtractive (machining) process used to make current unibody housings is relatively expensive.



    Liquid metal could also be used as a surface treatment for less expensive metal substrates, perhaps analogous to the anodizing used on Apple's aluminum products. I have no idea whether the resulting surface treatments would be esthetically pleasing. I presume Apple would not expose a liquid metal surface if it wasn't.



    Regardless of its benefits, Liquid Metal is still metal, and so creates the same RF issues as aluminum.
  • Reply 50 of 106
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Good question. Does implication refer to the author's implied conclusion, the reader's, or both? Can we differentiate between a conclusion that can be drawn versus one that is drawn?



    I believe the word inference does that job.

    What DaHarder inferred wasn't what Tallest Skill implied.
  • Reply 52 of 106
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,665member
    Everything we know about Liquidmetal is based on a small company's limited production. Given that Apple has signed a deal with that company, I would think that economics of scale, profits and R&D all take a sharp uptick, suggesting that cost and potential applications aren't necessarily what we think they are. And given that it's Apple, we can be pretty sure that we won't hear anything about that till a product is shipping.



    What was "very expensive" when used in tiny amounts in a handful of products might be "pretty cheap" once Apple starts using it in a few hundred million iDevices. And given the money to be made via such sales (either from per unit profit, direct investment from Apple or longer term contract) the Liquidmetal folks might have the resources to expand upon their vision into yet unseen innovations. Again, it that's happening it's a given that Apple has arranged to keep it tightly under wraps. In other words, I don't think it's necessarily reasonable to judge the technology by what we've seen to date, now that Apple is involved.
  • Reply 53 of 106
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Doctor David View Post


    I believe the word inference does that job.

    What DaHarder inferred wasn't what Tallest Skill implied.



    Here's a funny take on that distinction from Big Bang Theory:



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3s6YH2cHa0
  • Reply 54 of 106
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    It doesn't make a lot of sense to me either. Liquidmetal would *not* be radio transparent and as you say is prohibitively expensive.



    I could see them doing it if they keep the external antenna as well and to give the new iPhone a back that is reminiscent of the old iPods but won't get scratched like they do. It seems like an awful lot of trouble and expense for just a "look" and a slightly lower incidence of back repairs.



    Virtually any metallic substance can form a Faraday cage that will either inhibit or prevent RF loss (it doesn't need to be ferrous -- think about aluminum foil being used for signal capture or loss). So, I think the question is, just how much signal attenuation will occur with the Liquidmetal case, and is it considered acceptable loss given the other positive attributes of the material when used as a casing for the phone.
  • Reply 55 of 106
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bsimpsen View Post


    Unfortunately this is wrong. Perfectly elastic collisions release NO heat. The durability of a material has nothing to do with its elasticity. Tungsten carbide is much more elastic than steel, yet shatters on sufficient impact. Mar resistance is dependent on many things, including surface hardness, texture and substrate resiliency. This explains why silane coatings on polycarbonate (think scratch resistant eyewear) are more mar resistant than the highly polished stainless steel backs of iPods.



    Who said anything about perfectly elastic collisions? I certainly didn't state it, nor did I imply it. And, where there is inefficiency in the modulus of elasticity of this material, the residual energy release will most likely be in form of heat (basic physics). There is going to be elastic modulus inefficiency in a phone case using Liquidmetal -- we just don't have enough information at this point to determine what that coefficient is.
  • Reply 56 of 106
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,789member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A new, questionable rumor from Korea claims that Apple's next-generation iPhone will replace its glass back with the super-durable Liquidmetal alloy.



    A Liquidmetal enclosure could be really beautiful and very durable. But it may be too expensive and not recyclable enough. Still, there's hope. If the manufacturing process can be streamlined to make it cost effective, and/or if the materials can be changed to be slightly less expensive Apple can and will use Liquidmetal. (The original Liquidmetal formula includes platinum, which is $1577 per troy ounce as I type, as opposed to gold at $1639 per troy ounce.)



    One of Liquidmetal's assets is that it is very durable yet it can be cast, like plastic, into complex shapes. And casting complex shapes is faster than machining them. And "faster" can translate to "cheaper" in manufacturing.



    My 2012 iPhone wish list remains the same:



    Things I'm expecting in the "new iPhone":



    - Metal back

    - Narrower bezel (with 3.7" to 3.9" screen size)

    - Possible minor decrease in thickness

    - Possible minor change to overall dimensions



    Things I want but am not expecting this year:



    - MagSafe dock connector (for easier connecting/disconnecting)

    - LiquidMetal back (for scratch-proofness)

    - Wireless earbuds

    - Optical zoom on rear-facing camera



    Things I want that might never happen:



    - Inductive charging
  • Reply 57 of 106
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    How would that work since there will still be holes for the 2 mics, speaker headphone jack, Home button and Volumn and Mute buttons that will affect any seal, not to mention the screws that I assume will be still be used to hold the casing components together?



    I think waterproofing would be great but what about the spray coating that was demoed at CES this year?



    Panasonic Eluga is rather waterproof already: IP57 - rated to last 30 minutes submerged to 1.5m







    Liquid Metal has been used in phones before - notably by Samsung in 2002 in the SCH-X199 http://www.wallstreet-online.de/disk...hnologies-lqmt
  • Reply 58 of 106
    dbtincdbtinc Posts: 134member
    Just curious - will this make for a better phone use experience?
  • Reply 59 of 106
    From a PR statement made by Liquidmetal for the Samsung SCH-X199 release in 2002:



    "Liquidmetal Technologies (www.liquidmetal.com) is the leading developer, manufacturer, and marketer of products made from amorphous alloys. Amorphous alloys are unique materials that are characterized by a random atomic structure, in contrast to the crystalline atomic structure possessed by ordinary metals and alloys. Bulk Liquidmetal® alloys are two to three times stronger than commonly used titanium alloys, harder than tool steel, and relatively non-corrosive and wear resistant. Bulk Liquidmetal alloys can also be molded into precision net-shaped parts similar to plastics, resulting in intricate and sophisticated engineered designs. Liquidmetal Technologies is the first company to produce amorphous alloys in commercially viable bulk form, enabling significant improvements in products across a wide array of industries. The combination of a super alloy`s performance coupled with unique processing advantages positions Liquidmetal alloys for what the company believes will be The Third Revolution(TM) in material science."



    http://www.wallstreet-online.de/disk...hnologies-lqmt
  • Reply 60 of 106
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,789member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    [...] Korea IT News, which said Apple's sixth-generation iPhone will be made of zirconium, titanium, nickel, copper "and so forth." [...]



    Apple applied for a patent on using zirconium dioxide-based ceramics for portable electronics enclosures. They're very durable, and also radio transparent:



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



    Here's the Wikidoc entry for zirconium dioxide, complete with AppleInsider reference. (It appears to be a copy of the original Wikipedia entry, from which the Apple patent paragraph has been removed.)



    http://www.wikidoc.org/index.php/Zirconium_dioxide
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