Liquidmetal iPhone long way off according to inventor
There has been speculation that we will see a completely redesigned iPhone 5 released this year following the last model that was just a bump in some of the specifications. Alongside a larger display there has been some talk of the handset being made of new materials, but the chances of a Liquidmetal iPhone are a long way off according to the inventor.
The inventor of the technology says it could take Apple hundreds of millions of dollars, and as AppleInsider are reporting over three years for the company to be ready to mass produce devices from the material. The person that discovered and developed the material, Dr. Atakan Peker, recently said that Apple is likely be a long time away from using the alloy in large scale projects.
He added that there is “no suitable manufacturing infrastructure yet to take full advantage of this alloy technology”, and the former Vice President of Technology at Liquidmetal believes it would need an investment of between $300 and $500 million, and three to five years needed before the material reached consumers.
Peker said that the technology “has yet to be matured and perfected both in manufacturing process and application development”, and that it is a “new and different metal technology”. Other Apple products such as the MacBook are also unlikely to be made from the metal in the near future, but there is the chance that other small components such as brackets and hinges can be produced.
Companies such as Nokia and Samsung have used the technology before now, but not as a main design or structural feature, but Apple does have an exclusive license to the technology that has been rumoured to play some part in the next version of the iPhone. The company has currently only used the metal once to make a SIM card ejection tool for the iPhone and iPad.
Liquidmetal is ideal for device components like casings and frames as it not only looks good, but is also very strong, and according to Peker it “is super strong, scratch and corrosion resistant, resilient and can be precision cast into complex shapes”, and noted that while plastics don’t cost much to manufacture they are not strong enough.
He continues by suggesting that the material will be utilized to replace existing components, which will then be followed by a “breakthrough product” that will “bring an innovative user interface and industrial design together, and will also be very difficult to copy or duplicate with other material technologies”.
Are you looking forward to devices made from Liquidmetal?