Liquidmetal to Make Bigger Impact on Apple’s Mobile Lineup
Apple is looking to capitalize on its investment on Liquidmetal Technologies’ tough and durable coating to replace the aluminum and glass found on many of its portable and mobile products, ranging from iPhones to now Mac computers. While on this is in the rumor stages at this time, it is believed that the Mac-maker will also be migrating its MacBook line (MacBook Pro and MacBook Air) to casings made from Liquidmetal to add to the device’s strength and durability.
With the current generation of MacBook Pro and MacBook Air systems, Apple had touted the strength and structural integrity of the unibody machined aluminum enclosure while also highlighting the environmental benefits of this highly recyclable metal. Migrating from machined aluminum to Liquidmetal may give these mobile notebooks increased strength and increased resistance to bumps and dings, but may also allow Apple to create even lighter and thinner models as well.
In the past, the iPhone 5–the flagship smartphone that is expected to succeed the current iPhone 4S model–is believed to use Liquidmetal for its case. This would allow Apple to compete on design and technologies, combatting new polycarbonate unibody shells from Nokia, the micro-arc oxidation process from HTC, and a rumored ceramic shell on the Galaxy S III from Samsung.
With notebooks, as with smartphones, reception will be a concern and SlashGear points out it’s unclear how Liquidmetal will handle with signal strength. In the past, metal materials have been found to hinder and hurt reception, forcing manufacturers to add plastic windows–as on the iPad–to better handle 3G, 4G, or WiFi signal. With the newness of Liquidmetal, it’s unclear how the material will be able to handle reception for WiFi and Bluetooth on Apple’s new MacBook products if the material is employed.
With Apple rumored to be refreshing its MacBook lineup following Intel’s Ivy Bridge announcement, the new models could potentially be made from Liquidmetal.
Currently, Apple only uses Liquidmetal on its small SIM ejector tool.
Tech enthusiast in Silicon Valley enjoying the possibilities of ubiquitous connectivity, information sharing, and collaboration enabled by mobile broadband. You can contact Chuong on Twitter @chuongvision or search +chuongvision on Google+.