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Apple Signs Deal for Liquidmetal Alloy [UPDATED]

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 80 comments

Isn't this what the T-1000 was made out of?

UPDATE 17 Aug, 2010: Word is that Apple has dabbled with liquid metal before in a previous iPhone part -- the SIM ejector tool. I've pulled one from one of our old iPhone 3G boxes and found it to be many times stronger than any stainless steel paperclip I have on hand.

Now Apple just needs to implement this metal on more structurally important things, like the iPhone casing or the MacBook Pro unibody.

Apple has secured the rights to an advanced form of metal that could replace the company's use of glass backings in its phones and media players as well as the aluminum casings of its computers.

Liquidmetal Technologies has agreed to give over all the rights to its metal alloy technologies over to Apple for making things relating to electronics.

What's so special about this metal, you ask?

  • With approximately 2.5 times the strength of commonly used titanium alloy and 1.5 times the hardness of commonly used stainless steel, Liquidmetal alloys enable sophisticated, engineered designs required by the evolution of new technologies
  • Enables thinner, smaller designs while providing greater protection for internal components
  • Permits thinner walls while providing greater strength
  • Allows larger, wider screens for expanded features and capabilities
  • With precision net-shape casting, Liquidmetal alloys can be readily fashioned into intricate, innovative designs resulting in a unique aesthetic advantage
  • Excellent durability
  • Scratch and corrosion resistant
  • Non-reactive

While the aluminum that Apple uses on its computers right now is lightweight and attractive, it's a still a soft metal that's easily prone to scratches and dents.

Liquidmetal Alloy was developed by a research team at the California Institute of Technology and has been used commercially since 2003 in sporting equipment and electronics such as the Nokia Vertu. It's also employed by the U.S. Department of Defense and NASA.

Apple's agreement with Liquidmetal means that the only electronics and computers using this metal will be from the Cupertino company, though anything outside that will still have access to the alloy technology.

(Source: AppleInsider.)

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Top Comments
  • 44 Hide
    the_krasno , August 10, 2010 11:17 AM
    Too bad now it's owned by the likes of Apple. This thing should be open, it would be better for customers.
  • 39 Hide
    phantomtrooper , August 10, 2010 11:19 AM
    duh its owned by apple. they are obviously the ones going to make the t-1000 since they are the evil company. the t-1000 will start out by being the apple enforcer, but soon it will turn on them and all humankind. lol
  • 33 Hide
    anonymousdude , August 10, 2010 11:24 AM
    Time for apple to charge even more for their stuff
Other Comments
  • 44 Hide
    the_krasno , August 10, 2010 11:17 AM
    Too bad now it's owned by the likes of Apple. This thing should be open, it would be better for customers.
  • 39 Hide
    phantomtrooper , August 10, 2010 11:19 AM
    duh its owned by apple. they are obviously the ones going to make the t-1000 since they are the evil company. the t-1000 will start out by being the apple enforcer, but soon it will turn on them and all humankind. lol
  • 33 Hide
    anonymousdude , August 10, 2010 11:24 AM
    Time for apple to charge even more for their stuff
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , August 10, 2010 11:25 AM
    Vitreloy has been around for years - also it's not liquid (at room temperature) - so really what's newsworthy here? Just another shallow Apple story that is made to sound like a big deal when it really isn't.
  • 29 Hide
    tsnorquist , August 10, 2010 11:28 AM
    John Connor: So this other guy: he's an Apple like you, right?
    The Apple: Not like me. A T-1000, advanced prototype.
    John Connor: You mean more advanced than you are?
    The Apple: Yes. A mimetic poly-alloy.
    John Connor: What the hell does that mean?
    The Apple: Liquid metal.
  • 19 Hide
    silentq , August 10, 2010 11:35 AM
    the iT-1000 is gonna suck... why? cuz it'll be made by Apple!
  • 9 Hide
    Drag0nR1der , August 10, 2010 11:44 AM
    IBM 'evil genius' super computer: "I want you to go back in time and kill John Conner"

    iT-1000: "I'm sorry, I may only go back to the 3 time periods, and target the two people, specified by my system designer"
  • 18 Hide
    chunkymonster , August 10, 2010 11:45 AM
    Too late for making Terminator jokes...oh well...
  • 24 Hide
    Anonymous , August 10, 2010 11:49 AM
    The iT-1000 will be awesome! (If held correctly)
  • 7 Hide
    halls , August 10, 2010 11:54 AM
    Wonder what kind of damage it will do when it explodes.
  • 18 Hide
    irh_1974 , August 10, 2010 12:02 PM
    Thgis is one of hundreds of metals that already exist that are stupidly hard, my Dad used to work in a company that made valves for the oil industry and Titanium was the sioftest metal they used. They have people in the lab all the time experimenting with differant mixtures - a bit of nickle here - a bit of tungsten there - a touch of cobalt for fun - etc etc.

    So Apple has an exclusivity deal with a company that has 1 metal with a catchy name - fine. If it's such a big deal then maybe HP, Dell or Sony can have a word with Tyco about using one of the metal used to pump nerve gas.
  • 0 Hide
    Tamz_msc , August 10, 2010 12:02 PM
    And Apple will sell products made of it calling it adamantium!Sigh!
  • 12 Hide
    Fetal , August 10, 2010 12:12 PM
    hallsWonder what kind of damage it will do when it explodes.


    ... and in the blender.
  • 2 Hide
    Transmaniacon , August 10, 2010 12:13 PM
    Apple = Skynet
  • 13 Hide
    gmarsack , August 10, 2010 12:17 PM
    ... but will it blend? (or will it turn to liquid metal)
  • 10 Hide
    Tmanishere , August 10, 2010 12:38 PM
    * With approximately 2.5 times the strength of commonly used titanium alloy and 1.5 times the hardness of commonly used stainless steel, Liquidmetal alloys enable sophisticated, engineered designs required by the evolution of new technologies
    * Enables thinner, smaller designs while providing greater protection for internal components
    * Permits thinner walls while providing greater strength
    * Allows larger, wider screens for expanded features and capabilities
    * With precision net-shape casting, Liquidmetal alloys can be readily fashioned into intricate, innovative designs resulting in a unique aesthetic advantage
    * Excellent durability
    * Scratch and corrosion resistant
    * Non-reactive

    All of that boils down to "strong as titanium and corrosion resistant like stainless steel." All the rest of the description means the same thing.
  • 1 Hide
    thejerk , August 10, 2010 12:39 PM
    damn you james cameron and your prophetic ways!!
  • 10 Hide
    BluntObjection , August 10, 2010 12:52 PM
    gmarsack... but will it blend? (or will it turn to liquid metal)


    If blends, than its blended.
    If it turns to liquid metal...Would it not still be considered blended?
  • 9 Hide
    Antimatter79 , August 10, 2010 1:06 PM
    Why do they call it liquid metal? Any metal is liquid if the temperature is high enough, and like the previous comment stated, it's not liquid at room temperature. (Unless your "room" is on the sun, or Mercury, perhaps").
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