According to Korean site ETNews.com, Apple acquired the exclusive rights to use Liquidmetal in its products for around $20 million from Liquidmetal Technologies back in 2010, but so far used the metal in the iPhone 3G SIM removal tool.
The material is very durable, light, it’s scratch resistant and it is said to be as smooth as liquid or glass to the touch. This also means that a handset using the technology is less likely to be broken when dropped.
Business Insider reports that Liquidmetal inventor Atakan Peker expects Apple to use the technology “in a breakthrough product.”
“I expect Liquidmetal application in two ways: First evolutionary substitution of current materials and secondly, and more importantly, in a breakthrough product made only possible by Liquidmetal technology. Apple’s exclusively licensing a new material technology (specifically for casing and enclosures) is a first in the industry,” Peker says.
“This is very exciting. Therefore, I expect Apple to use this technology in a breakthrough product. Such product will likely bring an innovative user interface and industrial design together, and will also be very difficult to copy or duplicate with other material technologies.”
However, Peker also believes that Apple won’t use the alloys as a major component in the next two to four years, crashing hopes of a Liquidmetal iPhone 5.
Q: I’ve heard rumors that future MacBooks from Apple could use Liquidmetal casing, what would that be like? Is it likely to happen?
A: Given the size of MacBook and scale of Apple products, I think it’s unlikely that Liquidmetal casing will be used in MacBooks in the near term. It’s more likely in the form of small component such as a hinge or bracket. A MacBook casing, such as a unibody, will take two to four more years to implement.”
However, recent reports suggest that the next-generation iPhone could be made from the material called Liquidmetal.