back to article Metallic Glass iPhone 5 to battle pottery Samsung Galaxy S3

The next iPhone will be cased in "Liquidmetal" says a Korean news outlet quoting "industry sources". The talkative Korean rumour-mongers have also repeated predictions that Samsung's upcoming S3, their next Galaxy smartphone, will be made of high-tech ceramics. Liquidmetal is the trade name for metal alloy with the structure …

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  1. Philip Lewis
    FAIL

    Compare and Contrast

    $11m for perpetual rights to a brilliant piece of metalurgy IP with applications across a broad range of products ...

    versus

    $1b for a pointless app that lets people share their photographic ineptitude.

    Mad I tell, completely mad ...

    1. Vehlin

      Re: Compare and Contrast

      They only paid for a licence to use it in consumer electronics, not any application. Thus the developers get a cash injection to spend on further research, seems like a reasonable deal to me.

  2. Dave 126 Silver badge

    My thoughts exactly- if this wonder material is as brilliant as we are led to believe, $11 seems awfully cheap for an economic way to process it.

    Do any Reggies here have the 3G tool? And if so, have you performed some destructive testing on it, possibly whilst bored or drunk? Any observations? : D

    1. Schultz

      According to the manufacturer,

      liquidmetal has 2-3 times the strength of titanium or stainless steel. Fairly impressive, but not in a league of its own. It surely has a nice name and should give the owner a nice SciFi-inspired feelgood factor. Marketing objective fulfilled!

    2. Oliver Mayes

      "Do any Reggies here have the 3G tool? And if so, have you performed some destructive testing on it, possibly whilst bored or drunk? Any observations? : D"

      I have one on my desk, I wasn't aware of its construction method but have always been intrigued by it. Although it's just a little bit of metal I couldn't find any injection seam or evidence of cutting so I was baffled as to how it was made without lots of effort being put into finishing.

      As for it's properties, it's pretty rigid and resistant to flexing or mild bending. I haven't gone the whole destructive testing route yet because it seems wrong somehow to damage a nice shiny things, I'll wait until I've had more to drink.

  3. EddieD

    Obligatory star trek,...

    No doubt Scotty will be along soon with some transparent Aluminum (sic)

    1. Alan Dougherty
      Thumb Up

      Re: Obligatory star trek,...

      If he can just stop talking into the mouse and looking like a complete tool, then we're sorted...

    2. adrian727
      Boffin

      Re: Obligatory star trek,...

      Aluminium oxynitride, Aluminium oxide(Sapphire, Ruby and Emerald) are somewhat transparent

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Obligatory star trek,...

        My old Seiko watch had a Saphlex glass (a layer of saphire on a hard glass).

        It was about the only part of that watch that didn't break, scratch or fail completely in some way in the 4.5 years I managed to keep it going.

        I wish my current Citizen watch had the same type to stop the scratches.

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Obligatory star trek,...

          I dreamt of a watch with Sapphic glass, but it proved to be too distracting...

  4. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    I'm impressed

    That's a seriously short turnaround time to commercialise a discovery. If this is as strong as predicted I think Apple has actually pulled a blinder here..

    1. Kristian Walsh

      Less impressive in reality

      Google "Vertu Ascent Liquidmetal" and look at the dates (2004). This was already a production-ready product, and even in mobile phones, long before Apple were sold a license to use it.

      And "licence" is the key word, here -- they get to be the only CE company using the material; they didn't get access to the IP behind its manufacture.

    2. Fr. Ted Crilly

      Re: I'm impressed

      ist gen Sandisk Sansa case back too. 2005/6 ish

      1. The BigYin

        Re: I'm impressed

        "ist gen Sandisk Sansa case back too. 2005/6 ish"

        Whoa - I got me one of those! And I still prefer it to an iPod.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    With a metal case, the antenna system would have redesigned.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Didn't

      Apple have something of an issue with antennae before?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Didn't

        No that was user error

  6. kparsons84

    iphone liquidmetal

    But can it form knives, and stabbing weapons?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: iphone liquidmetal

      and simple machines.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: iphone liquidmetal

        Or machines for the simple?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: iphone liquidmetal

          'Or machines for the simple?'

          Well it's used in an iPhone soooo...

    2. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Re: iphone liquidmetal

      The iPhone, or the metal?

      In any case if you are thinking "metal detectors", forget it: it's still metal, it'll still earn you an intimate moment with sweaty TSA agents.

      1. Toastan Buttar
        Terminator

        Re: iphone liquidmetal

        @Pierre: Whoooooosh!

        1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: iphone liquidmetal

          I'm sorry I only watch good movies and what the hell are you talking about?

          (D'Oh)

    3. Cunningly Linguistic
      Terminator

      Re: iphone liquidmetal

      "But can it form knives, and stabbing weapons?"

      And curvy blondes?

  7. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Glass-that-acts-like-metal?

    Isn't liquidmetal exactly the opposite: metal that behaves somewhat like glass? As in, non-cristalline (amorphous) metal?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. SuperTim

      Re: Glass-that-acts-like-metal?

      Yes. And the screen cannot be made out of it because it isn't transparent. I tell you, some journo's seem to just guess at what they are reporting.

  8. DrXym Silver badge

    What does it matter what its made of

    People go on about their wonderful iPhone and it's glass surfaces. So what's the first thing they do? Shove it in some ugly case. The only reason it's clad in exotic materials is to jack up the price not for any reasons of utility.

    1. Craigness

      Re: What does it matter what its made of

      Omega's been using it for a while on its Planet Ocean range. If the advert is anything to go by, the iphone will retain its striking appearance indefinitely and you'll need an 8000 Watt laser ray to engrave your name on the back.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZcsWVqLC5I

      But it also suggests the next iphone ads will be even worse than the last ones, and note that Omega hiked its prices a heck of a lot in the last few years!

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        WTF?

        Re: What does it matter what its made of

        "....you'll need an 8000 Watt laser ray to engrave your name on the back."

        Wow, that's dangerous. The humungous shark the thing's mounted on is almost certainly going to take your arm off while you're holding an iPhone in front of its nose....

        1. admiraljkb
          Joke

          Re: What does it matter what its made of

          @TeeCee

          Due to circumstances out of our control, we are sorry to note that the Shark (previously used for our extremely popular high power Laser "engraver" mounts) is now on the protected wildlife list, and won't be available for delivery in the near future. Can we interest you instead in an extremely ill tempered Sea Bass(r) which to mount the laser on? Price and warranty are otherwise unchanged. As an additional service, for an extra $1 Million, we'll pre-mount the laser on your ill tempered Sea Bass(r).

          Sincerely

          #2

          Sales and Marketing Director

          Evil Mfg Inc.

    2. Piro

      Re: What does it matter what its made of

      Hahaha, I know. They buy a slim phone and then clad it in gaudy plastic. Almost every iPhone I see is like this.

      I've never used a case for my phones. Then again, I'm pretty sure if I used a case on my Sony Ericsson P990, it would have made a suspicious bulge in my pocket, more than it already did. Great phone at the time though.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: What does it matter what its made of

        "Hahaha, I know. They buy a slim phone and then clad it in gaudy plastic. Almost every iPhone I see is like this."

        That too. Transforming a slim phone into a brick.

        The trick to keeping a phone looking good without a cover is to put it into your pocket facing your leg. And put all your keys, coins and other scratchy things into another pocket. I have an HTC Desire which is over 2 years old now and aside from a very slight scratch has managed to survive all that time in such a way. I don't even think the screen is made of glass.

        1. Miek
          Thumb Up

          Re: What does it matter what its made of

          Absolutely.

  9. Daniel Bower

    Haven't we been here before?..

    Of course there is always the possibility that when released the iPhone 5 will look exactly like the 4S with almost exactly the same specs...

  10. Mr_Pitiful
    Pint

    But... can you drop it from 3 feet an the screen stays intact?

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge
      Joke

      @ Mr_Pitiful

      > can you drop it from 3 feet an the screen stays intact?

      I believe a LiquidMetal screen would allow for that. Unfortunately, it would also be opaque. After the sealed battery, the opaque screen. Makes sense!

    2. D@v3

      probably

      did that with my 4s a couple of weeks ago, was at a club, getting a bit active, phone flew out of (buttoned) external breast pocket, still in mint condition. (did replace the £1.50 for 3 screen protector(which is not noticeable in normal operation))

  11. Bear Features

    This is iApple all over, hype the 'magical' design. Like now all their phans go on about how "their" notebooks are made of Nasa Space aluminium rather than 'creaky plastic'. Because before this line of laptops Apple never used plastic... iLOL

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So let me get this straight...

      I'm not allowed to like feature XYZ of a product if the company that makes it ever made a product without feature XYZ? Uhh...

  12. JustNiz

    I'm not seeing anywhere that liquidmetal can be transparent, so suggestions that the display would be made from it are apparently all from people that keyed on the word 'glass' without doing any actual reading.

  13. JeffyPooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Plenty of this material in your house right now...

    The little anti-shoplifting tags (typically about 1 x 3 cm, black) stuck inside your DVD cases. The foil layers are reportedly made of amorphous metal. Be careful, they're sharp.

  14. james 68

    er...

    isnt this the exact same rumour that was flying around for the last 2 versions of iphone?

    i was interested in it before from a materials standpoint only to discover that the phone was standard kit and only the lil pokey thing was liquid metal - next will be the rumour that the entire samsung galaxy s3 will be entirely made of gorrilla glass, oh wait they said that before too

    those korean guys have some imagination.

  15. g e

    11 Million

    Sounds fecking cheap (or a ripoff) for a worldwide exclusive deal for consumer electronics.

    Was someone a bit starstruck by the Apple name during that deal ?

    Cue angry shareholders, etc.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      Re: 11 Million

      Nah.

      It just means that the next someone who wants to use it will have, to buy the lads out of the apple agreement. Have to keep the lawyers busy you know, otherwise they will start working on the rest of us.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does that mean..

    ...that all this swanky space age liquid metal will fix the ongoing javascript bug in Safari and stop it crashing when looking at real web sites? No? Didn't think so.

    I guess it'll be better after throwing it at the wall in frustration though..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does that mean..

      Safari on my phone rarely crashes for me and I feel like I look at a lot of "real" web sites but I guess they are all fake. Pray tell, what is a "real" web site so I can go to it and confirm this crash?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Does that mean..

        Oh my, it seems I may have upset a fanboy.

        There are a few things you can do to find out more info about this, copy and paste(I know we never could, but nowadays Apple let us...yay!) this: 'iOS safari javascript crash' in to google and then read. Or, you can go and do what I did and went in to a shiny high street store and asked a 'genius' all about it. His response, and I'll quote him verbatim: "Yes, we've known about this bug for ages but apparently they can't fix it. Download Opera on your device and use that. It just works." I gave him 10 out of 10 for getting the slogan in even though he was talking about a product not made by Apple.

        For the record, I did download Opera and guess what...it just worked. Off you go then, have a look at some "real" websites (but I'd use Opera if I were you)...

  17. Magnus Ramage
    Trollface

    Missed my opportunity to be a patent troll

    Many years ago, a group I was part of made a prototype PDA out of modelling clay. We even took it to Apple as part of a competition they ran for Masters students in human-computer interaction. Looks like we should have patented it!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Missed my opportunity to be a patent troll

      Modelling Clay != LiquidMetal

    2. Chet Mannly

      Re: Missed my opportunity to be a patent troll

      "We even took it to Apple"

      Shame you didn't take it to Samsung - you would have been a dead cert if the rumor of the ceramic galaxy is true!

    3. Your Retarded
      Boffin

      Re: Missed my opportunity to be a patent troll

      You could have patented it, possibly, before the competition.

      You may have found however that the prior art on things like PDAs go back much further than you might first think.

      Unfortunately one of the requirements for a patent application is that you haven't told anyone about it.

  18. Seanmon
    Happy

    Transparent Aluminium!

    There be whales here, Captain.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Not impressed in the slightest. But millions of losers will be.

  20. ravenviz
    Facepalm

    "SIM card removal tool in the 3G"

    What, a paperclip?

  21. Neil Stansbury
    FAIL

    But it's still *not* glass!

    "Metallic Glass" is still a metal and it's still not transparent!

    The "glass" part refers to the way the atoms are ordered when cooled rapidly, remain locked in the liquid atomic structure rather than forming normal crystals, hence the reason the company that makes it is called "Liquidmetal".

    But it is NOT a "glossy glass-that-acts-like-metal". It is not glass and is still a metal!

    Nice pic here: http://www.engadget.com/2005/03/31/scientists-develop-metallic-glass/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amorphous_metal

  22. Armando 123

    liquid metal?

    Siri replaced by Arni? "Sara Connor, zat iPhone iss made uf liquid metal! Get out now!"

  23. DEAD4EVER
    FAIL

    liquid metal iphone

    yea and guess what apple it will come with a whopping price tag maybe higher than the iPhone 4s price tag. my brother has a iPhone 4s and its so annoying in using it restrictive on what you do on it like putting your own ringtone on you have to go through a stupid way unlike other phones where you just bring the menu up on the song and select set as ringtone eh. plus he had issues when he was putting songs on the stupid cloud service was filling his phone up that he didn't want. all I can say is forget apple there a horrible company ill never touch apples ever.

  24. Spud2go
    Pint

    No carbon fibre?

    I'm not up on mobile tech, but there must be room for a composite case, if there isn't already one in existence, for all the Ferrari, Pagani, Bugatti et al.exotics drivers - matching accessories & all that.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "But it also suggests the next iphone ads will be even worse than the last ones, and note that Omega hiked its prices a heck of a lot in the last few years!"

    Probably more to do with the strength of the Swiss franc vs other currencies making their exports very expensive. My Omega Seamaster is worth more second hand (after about 8 years) than I paid for it - of course the new version is now very much more expensive.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Not impressed in the slightest. But millions of losers will be."

    Luddite - you stick with your Nokia 6210i or no-phone - it's like you are against progress - who would not want a super strong phone rather than one that scratches / chips / breaks if you drop it.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Many years ago, a group I was part of made a prototype PDA out of modelling clay. "

    So? My kids do that sort of cr@p - you looking for a medal - they make cars and all sorts of prototypes out of clay etc. all the time.

  28. Buzzby
    Gimp

    Liquid Metal

    Wasn't the last terminator made from liquid metal?

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      Re: Liquid Metal

      how do you know he was the last one?

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