Apple purchased the intellectual property rights to Liquidmetal’s technology back in August 2010, and shortly after that the world learned that the iPhone SIM ejector tool utilized the special metal. After that, things have been quiet, but today Liquidmetal announced that they’ve begun shipping parts to customers using the technology.
It’s not clear exactly who will be using Liquidmetal in future products, and the company is staying mum for now, but it did begin shipping parts back in December, and a further rollout is expected in the coming months as production increase.
The practical applications for the technology are similar to existing metals, but the manufacturing process is simpler. Liquidmetal parts can be produced in one sitting, rather than requiring several stages production, which saves time and money. The material is also resistant to scratches and corrosion, weighing less than titanium but proving just as strong.
There was previous speculation that Apple would employ the alloy in the iPhone 5, something which of course did not come to fruition. There’s no indication on exactly how Apple will choose to use the alloy in its products going forward, but seeing as they bought the IP rights and production is starting to ramp up, its safe to say they won’t simply let it sit idly by in the months and years to come.