Rumor: next iPhone will be machined from Liquidmetal and launch at WWDC

By , Apr 18, 2012

A new report out of South Korea alleges that Apple will be launching a sixth-generation iPhone at its annual developers conference this summer, likely taking place between June 11-15.

The phone is said to be a complete overhaul of the existing iPhone, with the biggest design feature being the use of the patented Liquidmetal amorphous alloy, presumably for its shell.

As you know, Apple obtained exclusive worldwide rights to use this zirconium-based alloy in consumer electronics products from Liquidmetal Technologies’  in August of 2010.

They already tested the substance with the SIM ejector tool that shipped with the iPhone 3G, but thus far the company did not switch its aluminum-based gadgets to Liquidmetal…

Both Samsung and Apple are apparently experimenting with new materials for their upcoming phones, but only Apple can use the amorphous Liquidmetal alloy in consumer electronics products.

ETNews has the story:

According to industry sources, the next flagship phones of the companies are expected to adopt unprecedented materials for their main bodies, that is, ceramic for the Galaxy S3 and liquid metal for iPhone5, both being thin, light and highly resistant to external impacts. In the meantime, iPhone5 is likely to take liquid metal, an alloy of zirconium, titanium, nickel, copper and so forth having an outer surface smooth like liquid. The new iPhone is expected to make its debut at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco in June.

It’s interesting that Liquidmetal Technologies last month said it began shipping commercial parts of the new metallic glass alloy to unnamed customers around the world. According to a press release, “parts delivery began this past December with continuing shipments scheduled for the months ahead”.

Apple was also spotted hiring Liquidmetal engineers, including Amorphous Metal Development Manager, Metal Process Development Engineer and Amorphous Metal Development Engineer.

The amorphous Liquidmetal alloy is made from zirconium, titanium, nickel, copper and other materials. It has smooth appearance akin to liquid (hence the name) that allows for stronger, lighter and more corrosion-resistant parts.

It also features twice the strength of Titanium and the processability of plastics, while storing energy much better than stainless steel or Titanium. Even better, metallic glass can be easily machined into more complex shapes than either Titanium or aluminum.

The Rancho Santa Margarita, California-based Liquidmetal Technologies says these amorphous alloys are:

unique materials that are distinguished by their ability to retain a random structure when they solidify, in contrast to the crystalline atomic structure that forms in ordinary metals and alloys. Liquidmetal Technologies is the first company to produce amorphous alloys in commercially viable bulk form, enabling significant improvements in products across a wide array of industries.

Omega also experimented with the use of Liquidmetal. A year ago they showed off a new kind of bezel that blended Liquidmetal with ceramics, as seen in the below clip.

The Commerical Times reported in February that the iPhone 5 – or whatever it ends up being called (most likely “the new iPhone”) – will debut at WWDC this summer.

However, the usually accurate Japanese blog Macotakara has called for a Fall launch.

Apple unveiled the current iPhone 4S on October 4 of last year.

Does the iPhone 5 made from metallic glass sound like something you’d prefer over the existing glass and metal design of the iPhone 4/4S?

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  • Anonymous

    Now anytime I see an article here that refers to the upcoming 2012 iPhone as “iPhone 5″ I wanna shoot somebody. I already have the 5th iPhone and so do many others! It’s called “iPhone 4s”!!! I know I sound like a broken record but how many times do we need to say it to get it through the heads’ of the bloggers here?!

    • http://www.galaxytabs.com Kyle Dornblaser

      Every blog I have seen is calling it the iPhone 5. I find it frustrating, but I am slowly getting over it.

    • Ignacio Irigoyen

      “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

      If you understand what they are talking about in the article (and it is very clear) what does it matter what they call it?

      • Anonymous

        This is an iOS blog. About jail breaking. Which is very different depending on what device you have. The people here talk about iOS devices FOR A LIVING so they should start using proper names. For example, we all KNOW the next iPhone will not be called the “iPhone 5″. That would make no sense whatsoever.

      • http://twitter.com/mrmberman Marc

        “This is an iOS blog. About jail breaking” “we all KNOW the next iPhone will not be called the “iPhone 5″ Firstly this is an iOS blog about EVERYTHING, Secondly, as the “next” iPhone has not been officially released, no one but no one really knows what it’s proper name will be. So take a chill pill and don’t get too upset if it is eventually called the iPhone Five.

      • http://www.facebook.com/reanimationxp Drew Alden

        Yeah, that’d be almost as ridiculous as calling the phone released after the 3GS an “iPhone 4″..

        Are you all dumb?

      • http://www.facebook.com/luisreyespr Luis

        @Drew, it just happened that the 4th generation iphone, was indeed the iPhone 4, but the 6th generation iphone, its name should not be iphone 5… isn’t it suposed to be at least iphone 6? Any way, given the recent ipad’s name change, as many of you, i predredit it’s going to be called the new iPhone.

    • Anonymous

      I am also looking forward to the upcoming iPhone 5.

    • Anonymous

      You have an iPhone 4S. It might be the 5th generation but it’s product name isn’t the iPhone 5 logically Apple would use that for the next version. But I think Apple will drop the suffix like they did with the iPad and just call it the new iPhone

      • Anonymous

        Exactly. At this point I would bet money that the next iPhone will be called “The New iPhone” or just “iPhone”. Apple has shown they want to drop the generation names like they did with the iMac and iPod.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000122495675 Ali Aledany

        the next iphone will be called iPhone jx777958sdf83uernwpcfoshu 32qw8v potato i has da proof

    • http://twitter.com/Dongiuj DonGiuj

      Nobody said it’s the fifth iPhone, they said iPhone 5. It’s a name, not the generation.
      Sort it out!

    • http://www.facebook.com/dome.ricciuto Domenico Ricciuto

      The 3g wasn’t the third iPhone, either.

      • http://www.facebook.com/luisreyespr Luis

        And that is why it was not called iPhone 3, it was iPhone 3G

    • Anonymous

      First of all, The 2nd iPhone was not iPhone 2, it was iPhone 3G. The 3rd generation iPhone was iPhone 3Gs. Then iPhone 4 came out with a new body, followed by the iPhone 4s. I think Apple is reserving incrementing the number when they do a full redesign on form factor. Given iPhone 4 and 4s have the same external design it makes sense for the 4s to not be iPhone 5.

      Now there is no guarantee that the next iPhone would be even called iPhone 5. For all we know, they may call it the iPhone 4G since it will most likely gets the LTE capabilities that the “new iPad” got. (I hope to god they don’t call it the “new iPhone”).

      Or while we’re on the rumor of liquid metals, how about the iPhone T-1000?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=857680260 Austin Lopesilvero

    Sooooo…. iPhone Flubber?

  • http://twitter.com/DrtyBlvd DrtyBlvd™

    Fascinating. Can’t wait to drop my new iPhone.

  • http://twitter.com/sureine surein edwards

    Terminator iPhone….nice

  • http://www.idownloadblog.com/ Christian Zibreg

    The iPhone 5 is just a press-coined term and I noted that it will probably be referred to as “the new iPhone”. I also referred to the device as a sixth-generation iPhone. The fact is that we do not know what the new iPhone will be called and the iPhone 5 is a perfectly legitimate name to describe it in media reports – until it debuts, that is.

  • Sean

    They are really coming up with a lot of exciting stuff! The anti-water coating and now this. Now a fix for the (goddamn) battery life and the iPhone 5 could be a product who deserves the “life changing” promo’s Apple is always making for there products.
    And JamesR624; Who cares?

  • Mordechai Eliyahu

    itll b funny if they make a next iphone a iphone 4s2 or something like ull see everyone in the streets depressed and btw if they make a iphone with liquidmetal as per video if you drop the iphone itll bounce for 2 minutes

  • http://twitter.com/TarekMMD Tarek

    All I know is that I will be getting it as soon as it comes out. I am still on the iPhone 4 and this July it will be two years with it. It has served me well. And I look forward to make it my travel phone. The iPhone 5, whatever it looks like, will be my next phone.

    Can’t wait, can’t wait.

  • http://www.GoldenGateDomains.com/ Golden Gate Domains

    The two videos are AMAZING!

    I am impressed that Apple had the foresight to consider using such an awesome product!

    I have a feeling that the manufacturers of the protective cases that cost $20 / $30+ are a bit pissed, who needs a case when you got liquidmetal???!!!!

    PERSONALLY I CAN’T WAIT!!!

  • http://twitter.com/GtotheFO G tha genuine

    As a shareholder of liquid metal I look forward to the coming of this day!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-James/100001794725350 Tommy James

    I just have to ask this: “Does Apple have a hidden partnership with Skynet?” Our next iPhone may one day take over the world and get rid of humanity, lol! I hope CHUCK NORRIS is still alive to save us…

  • http://twitter.com/fgthiel Fred Thiel

    I just got in the virtual line to buy one!

  • http://twitter.com/idhanta Idhanta|iOSJedi

    Hang on! Do you guys remember Scott Forstall saying that the iPhone was going to manufactured in different colors like the iPod, ironically the iPod is also made up of Liquid metal, which makes it easier to get different colors, hence my guess is that if Apple is going to shift to Liquid Metal then we can all expect the next iPhone to be available in various colors!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2VIFLIUWENWFLCTH7I4HEMLTZQ Guiseppe Gagliano

    The author is somewhat uninformed about the nature of liquidmetal, to the extent that she misrepresents the superb attributes of the technology. The liquidmetal frame, not back plate, of the IPHONE is injection molded, NOT MACHINED. The whole purpose of NET-CASTING this metal is to AVOID the very expensive machining costs and slow-down in production of frames machined out of aluminum. LIquidmetal is 5 times the strength of aluminum and is 1/3 the thickness.