Apple Granted Exclusive Use of ‘Liquidmetal’ Casing Material

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Liquidmetal is no stranger to the consumer electronics industry. The stronger-than-titanium-alloy material has been used in SanDisk flash drives and MP3 players as well as for high-end phones like the fancy-pants Vertu. It’s also been used in jewelry, medical devices, sporting goods, as a coating for industrial machinery, and even in space projects.

But it’ll probably be known best for use in future Apple products, as the two companies have apparently hammered out a deal for Liquidmetal to be used exclusively by Apple. While the Associated Press questions whether “the material will ever make it into its products” due to its “prohibitively expensive nature,” it’s important to point out, again, that Liquidmetal has already been in use for making tough consumer electronics devices and hasn’t raised the prices of, say, flash drives that use the material much higher than conventional flash drives.

However, a full Mac notebook ensconced in the material is a bit different than a little flash drive so it’s unknown whether Apple would use Liquidmetal as part of a notebook casing, for instance, or for all of it.

Liquidmetal claims that the material “enables thinner, smaller designs while providing greater protection for internal components,” so an all-Liquidmetal notebook or tablet from Apple might not be too far off. And let’s not forget about iPhones and iPods, too. A Liquidmetal iPod Shuffle wouldn’t be all that different than the Liquidmetal SanDisk drives that already exist.

Aside from the material’s strength and relative thinness, it’s possible that using Liquidmetal instead of the aluminum used in many currently-produced Apple computers could speed up production time. Liquidmetal can be cast into super precise shapes and doesn’t need to be machined or polished like other metals, according to the AP.

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