updated 01:00 pm EDT, Mon August 9, 2010
Company likely working on new shell designs
Apple has bought a "perpetual, worldwide, fully-paid, [and] exclusive" license to the patents of a company called Liquidmetal Technologies, a new SEC filing reveals. The company is based in California, and specializes in metal alloys with unusual chemical properties. The materials are said to have an "amorphous" atomic structure, as opposed to a conventional crystalline organization.
Liquidmetal claims a number of advantages to its alloys, including extra toughness, elasticity and a superior strength-to-weight ratio. Also mentioned are "unique acoustical properties," along with a high resistance to scratches and corrosion. The chemicals are claimed to be about 2.5 times stronger than common titanium alloys.
Apple's plans for the patents aren't stated, but it's believed that the company intends to use them to craft new iPhone, iPod and iPad designs with thinner and/or more compact shells. A common complaint of the iPad is that the tablet is too heavy. Apple may also want to employ the alloys in Mac construction, though the practicality of such a move is unknown.