Apple appears to be having a busy time of things at the moment. The USPTO has just published no less than five patents that Apple has applied for relating to building smartphones, tablets, and other devices using LiquidMetal.
Image : iPhone 6 in Liquid Metal Technology
3 years ago, Apple signed a deal with LiquidMetal Technologies, a company based in California and since then they have been carrying out experiments with amorphous metal alloys, or so it is rumored. To date, the only tangible evidence we have seen of anything being built with this technology is the SIM ejection tool.
LiquidMetal alloys have a different structure than that of traditional metal. Because of the way the molecules bind, the end result is a thinner, more durable, and stronger substance that can be molded into different shapes. That is the main reason why Apple has shown interest in the technology because it is ideal for mobile device parts.
The recent patents demonstrated complicated and in-depth ways of building mobile parts using layers of LiquidMetal alloy and a 3-D printer. According to Apple, this would work out a good deal cheaper and is far quicker than the current machine process.
Image : iPhone Manufacturing Process
The patents list a number of products that could be built using this technology. The list includes telephones – both mobile and fixed – and devices that are capable of sending and receiving emails.
Apple specifically mentions the iPhone, digital displays, electronic book readers, the iPad, and monitors such as TV or computer. They also talk about entertainment devices such as DVD players, those capable of playing Blu-Ray disks and video consoles. The iPod gets a mention along with remote controls, Apple TV, and numerous other items that pretty much have the technology market covered.
Don’t expect to see this type of technology any time soon though, at least not in a big way. According to a founder of LiquidMetal, any real breakthroughs in gadgets and devices made of the material are at least two to four years away.