Changes could be afoot when it comes to the iPhone’s build quality, it has emerged, amid signs that Apple could ditch the glass and aluminium construction of the current-gen model for Liquidmetal.
Rumours that Liquidmetal would figure in a future iPhone have been circulating since April last year. The alloy is favoured by Apple because it is less scratch-prone than glass but still offers the same silky smooth surfaces.
However, speculation that a LiquidMetal iPhone is an idea whose time may have come got fresh legs today after a site discovered a patent awarded to Crucible Intellectual Property. This is the inauspicious-sounding company at the heart of Apple’s licensing deal with LiquidMetal Technologies.
The patent details a fresh approach to production, which has until now been restricted to SIM ejector tools. This is due to unspecified manufacturing challenges, of the sort that LiquidMetal inventor Dr Atakan Peker outlined last year.
How viable the new method is for mass production of devices isn’t clear. But while it’s unlikely that the next iPhone will debut the technology, there’s a very good chance that Apple will feature LiquidMetal for iPhones some time in the future.
Under the terms of its agreement with LiquidMetal Technologies, which was signed in 2010, Apple has exclusive rights to use the technology.