Why is Apple licensing Liquidmetal? Can you say 'bounceable iPhones?'

Why is Apple licensing Liquidmetal? Can you say 'bounceable iPhones?'

Summary: Apple and Liquidmetal agreed to a licensing deal according to a new SEC filing. Now the big question: What will Apple use it for? Bounceable iPhones?

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TOPICS: Apple, Legal, Software
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Apple and Liquidmetal yesterday agreed to a licensing deal according to a new SEC filing.

  • LiquidMetal put all the relevant IP into a new company.
  • That new company gave Apple an exclusive perpetual license for using the technology in computers / electronics
  • That new company gave LiquidMetal an exclusive perpetual  license for using the technology in everything else.
  • Apple bought a perpetual exclusive license to use LiquidMetal for electronics.

All that's great and everything, but what exactly is Liquidmetal, anyway? Basically, it's "the world's premiere spring material." At least according to Liquid Metal technology demo video:

The corporate website boasts that Liquidmetal "is a creator of a new metallic, glass, substance that stores energy much better than stainless steel or Titanium" and has "more than twice the strength of Titanium with the processability of plastics," and goes on to say that its alloys "are poised to render obsolete current materials technology."

Now the big question: What will Apple use it for? Bounceable iPhones? Perhaps the new metal back panel rumored to arrive in the CDMA iPhone in January?

Cult of Mac thinks it would be a good guess is for casings in future iPhones, iPods and iPads.

Chime in in the TalkBack.

Tip: Glen Dasilva

Topics: Apple, Legal, Software

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20 comments
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  • RE: Why is Apple licensing Liquidmetal? Can you say 'bounceable iPhones?'

    Perhaps Steve Jobs really, REALLY liked using Liquidmetal golf clubs!

    On a serious note, does anyone know of its insulating properties? Liquidmetal is described as "glass like" which might make it a more durable insulator than "gorilla glass". Unfortunately, metallurgy is not a subject I studied in college.
    kenosha77a
    • RE: Why is Apple licensing Liquidmetal? Can you say 'bounceable iPhones?'

      @kenosha7777
      I'm not a Metalurgist myself, but I do know that this isn't glass like, it literally is a glass made of metal - the properties of metals are determined by their crystal structure, however this type of metal is made in such a way that it doesn't have a crystal structure, and instead like glass is technically a liquid that's been cooled far below it's normal solidification temperature without being allowed to truly change back into a solid. That gives it it's unusual properties, but I have no idea what it might do to electrical conductivity.
      brendan9
  • phone casings

    http://www.liquidmetaltechnologies.com/news/AdvMatProcess.pdf

    doh!
    enzos2
    • RE: Why is Apple licensing Liquidmetal? Can you say 'bounceable iPhones?'

      @enzos2 Liquid metal is described as "a unique blend of <a style="text-decoration: none; color: #333333;" href="http://www.directshopperonline.com/NC100_Titanium_Necklace_-_2_Pack.aspx?panel=3&categoryid=">titanium necklace</a>, zirconium, nickel, copper and beryllium". What makes this alloy different from other alloys? It doesn't crystallize; basically meaning it doesn't break easy.
      JSullivan00
  • RE: Why is Apple licensing Liquidmetal? Can you say 'bounceable iPhones?'

    Interesting proposition, but would I really want my iPhone caroming about should I accidentally drop it?
    dheady
    • RE: Why is Apple licensing Liquidmetal? Can you say 'bounceable iPhones?'

      @dheady@...

      Flubber iPhones :)
      richardw66
  • Every iphone owner knows when dropped its the metal case part that breaks..

    right? Seriously though i wonder what happens to the consumer electroincs that are already being made with it prior to the deal, including the samsung smartphone shown on their web site. will that pic be coming down fast?
    Johnny Vegas
    • RE: Why is Apple licensing Liquidmetal? Can you say 'bounceable iPhones?'

      @Johnny Vegas <br><br>Are those products already being made with liquid metal - or examples of what could be made? The site is a little unclear.<br><br>Sorry - just read the PDF below - yes these are already in production, so they will have to be made under licence to Apple now.

      The PDF also explains that the material cannot form the usual crystal arrangement due to rapid cooling - so this is the same as liquid nitrogen ice cream :)

      All ice cream is creamy because it is not allowed to form crystals due to physical breaking of the crystals. Liquid nitrogen ice cream fails to form crystals due to the rate of cooling.
      richardw66
  • RE: Why is Apple licensing Liquidmetal? Can you say 'bounceable iPhones?'

    AMORPHOUS
    METALALLOYS
    FORM LIKE PLASTICS

    http://www.liquidmetaltechnologies.com/news/AdvMatProcess.pdf

    Imagine what Jony Ive could do with a high strength metal that forms like plastic?

    No more tedious and time consuming cutting of aluminum blocks for MacBooks.

    I think it is all about making more beautiful and unique products out of metal while reducing costs of manufacture. JMO
    meridian2002
  • RE: Why is Apple licensing Liquidmetal? Can you say 'bounceable iPhones?'

    Next week Steve Ballmer will officially announce that Slate 2 will be made of LiquidMetal and he will hold up a hollow cardboard 'device' with a picture of a computer screen glued inside.
    john_gillespie
  • Somethings wrong with this blog....

    Oh.. It's missing a raving lunatic anti-Apple troll post... I think they are still dumbfounded that non Apple products are not going to have the cool new liquid metal...

    Here.. I'll help them out...

    WHAT THE $#$^% #%$&% ^$$@#$ @Q*&*!!!!!
    That damn Steve Job Messiah is monopolizing liquid metal just so he can walk on it for all his rabid fan followers... Steve Jobs is trying to control the liquid metal industry!!! It's not fair and we should all sue him. And anyone who buys Apple liquid metal is a mindless messiah following poo-poo head... But everyone knows you can't make phone calls with iPhones... None of them work... All those millions and millions and millions of iPhones and iPads are just iToys and they don't really work... And it doesn't matter if they have 300K+ apps.. Apple doesn't give you choices, other than the 300K+ apps, you don't have choices and it because Apple is a secret Nazi organization and they are trying to control the world and steal all my thoughts and I have to wear a tin foil hat to stop them from stealing my thoughts with their iMind-stealer-thingy... And they will control you and the quality, and that is a monopoly because its not fair trade because Microsoft can't control quality because everyone and their brothers and mothers make POS PC hardware and is not fair to sell something and force me to sign a EULA by holding my pet goat hostage and feeding him all my red shirts right off the clothes line where he can cough them up and flag down the train.

    Anyone want to squirt me with a Zune song??? Anyone???

    Dahhhhh!!! Nobody wants to play wif me!!!

    There... Much better... Now it feels like a Apple blog...
    i8thecat
    • James Bond "The World is not enough"...

      @i8thecat Sounds like the speech of the media moghul...
      minardi
    • RE: Why is Apple licensing Liquidmetal? Can you say 'bounceable iPhones?'

      @i8thecat Brilliant! Thank you... you have made my morning... especially the goat...
      Carrie Johnson
    • RE: Why is Apple licensing Liquidmetal? Can you say 'bounceable iPhones?'

      @i8thecat

      :-)
      kisap
  • RE: Why is Apple licensing Liquidmetal? Can you say 'bounceable iPhones?'

    wow.... Whatever it is on I want it.
    prof.ebral
    • RE: Why is Apple licensing Liquidmetal? Can you say 'bounceable iPhones?'

      @prof.ebral what the video or goof-ball "i8 poon tang" boy up there?
      ItsTheBottomLine
  • Apple is Skynet?

    Liquidmetal?!? I saw what happens with that in Terminator 2!! Steve Jobs didn't beat his illness. He was replaced by a machine and is going to destroy humanity!!

    Seriously though, the technology looks very interesting.
    Frankmjr
    • RE: Why is Apple licensing Liquidmetal? Can you say 'bounceable iPhones?'

      @Frankmjr LOL - now that was funny
      ItsTheBottomLine
  • RE: Why is Apple licensing Liquidmetal? Can you say 'bounceable iPhones?'

    Sounds like "flubber".
    Great material for the frame but this doesn't solve the problem with the display surface which current made of easily breakable glass. You can't truly make a thing to hit the area where you like and unless you make the a cover over the display or make the display into a clamshell where this material will protect the display if you drop it. Maybe they can engineer glass or other clear material to be nearly flexible as this metal then you have something.
    phatkat
  • Probably not worth it

    I've owned a USB stick (Sandisk Titanium U3) made of this trademarked alloy for years now. It seems pretty sturdy. However, I don't think it was worth the money.

    The biggest problem is that storage amounts have gone up so much since I bought it. 1GB is only tiny these days.

    So there wasn't, in hindsight, much use in paying premium for such a sturdy metal when the device itself would be out of date in a couple of years.
    thomasrutter