updated 09:50 pm EDT, Wed May 21, 2014
Liquidmetal alloys easier to extrude, mold than alternatives
Apple has again extended its contract with Liquidmetal Technologies, giving the Cupertino manufacturer exclusive rights to its alloys through February of 2015. All intellectual property acquired or developed by the Liquidmetal Technologies, and all intellectual property held by Crucible Intellectual Property, is now under the control of Apple for use only in its own devices.
Liquidmetal claims a number of advantages to its alloys, including extra toughness, elasticity and a superior strength-to-weight ratio. Also mentioned are "unique acoustical properties," along with a high resistance to scratches and corrosion. The chemicals are claimed to be about 2.5 times stronger than common titanium alloys.
Apple's plans for the patents aren't stated, but it's believed that the company intends to use them to craft new iPhone, iPod and iPad designs with thinner and/or more compact shells. A common complaint of the iPad is that the tablet is too heavy, though this concern has been ameliorated in recent models. Apple may also want to employ the alloys in Mac construction, though the practicality of such a move is unknown. The only part right now to be known to consist of the alloy is a SIM tray removal tool used in some iPhone models.