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Apple buys rights to Liquidmetal Technologies patents

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.






by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Orbifold

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +8

    I've been hoping for this for years

    LiquidMetal has been on the brink of bankruptcy for years because of its former CEO. He has, at last been removed. The technology is about cooling molten metal too fast for it to crystallize but it very tunable for strength, hardness etc. Apple must have seen the potential for locking in a competitive advantage in thinness and lightness long ago but wouldn't do business with the former CEO.

    http://www.liquidmetal.com/ Nice background music and the technology has huge potential.

  1. byRyan

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +13

    T-1000

    Liquid Metal technology... this can only mean one thing. Apples long rumored sexbot technology is really just a guise, covering up their real development of a T-1000 liquid metal terminator. Skynet here we come!


    Sigh - I miss CrazyAppleRumors.com

  1. prl99

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    Samsung Ego S9402

    Saw the Samsung uses LiquidMetal technology as do several other computer-related products. I wonder how Samsung will deal with Apple owning the patents to the technology used to build one of their cell phone shells. Bargaining power?

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -18

    Or...

    Liquidmetal found Apple to be violating their patents and so Apple did what any smart company would do in that situation: They bought them out.

    Or maybe someone else (say, MS) is violating their patents, so Apple wanted to get in on the ground floor of suing their asses.

    Or they heard other companies were in talks with LiquidMetal and, in order to keep their wide edge in design and materials, bought them out before anyone else could.

    Or Apple has some super-secret next-gen device (come on, people, phones are so 2000!) that would shape around a person's hand and take direct input from the nervous system. Or is that just too obvious?

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +6

    Or...

    A real EyePhone!

    "Shut up and take my money!" -Fry

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    Wow

    This is huge, an exclusive license to use their tech for consumer electronics products; no competing devices will be able to use liquidmetal's tech. Seems like a win for the company, as they still get to market the stuff to sports equipment, home furnishing, industrial applications and defense companies, and certainly a win for Apple if they can bring this to market for a price that makes sense to them. Definitely looking forward to more shatter-resistant iDevices.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    What to use it for...

    http://www.liquidmetal.com/applications/dsp.casings.asp

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Applications

    Key Casings Advantages:

    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

  1. tightzeit

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    I'll be back

    Du-du-duh-du-duh...

  1. Loren

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    And the other direction...

    ...is thin film tech to make rollup screens!

    That's the real future, already demo'd, not rigid bricks.

    http://www.physorg.com/news188735764.html

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