iPhone 5 Release & Rumors: 3 Ways 'Liquid Metal' Technology Could Transform Design

on April 20 2012 4:43 PM
iPhone 5 Concept design by ADR Studio
New in-cell technology makes the next-generation iPhone the thinnest. ADR Studio

There's a new addition to the iPhone 5 rumor mill and this one comes with a twist: Liquidmetal. 

It sounds strange, but a report from the Korean news site ETnews claims that the next generation iPhone will replace its glass display with Liquidmetal technology that will transform the phone's design significantly. 

The next flagship phones of [Apple and Samsung] are expected to adopt unprecedented materials for their main bodies, that is, ceramic for the Galaxy S3 and liquid metal for iPhone 5, both being thin, light and highly resistant to external impacts, the Korean publication reports. 

The material itself isn't actually liquid. It's a mix of titanium, nickel, copper, and zirconium, which results in a tough and tight finish that feels as smooth as glass or liquid. The technology was discovered at the California Institute of Technology in 1992 and Apple purchased worldwide exclusive rights to use it in their products in 2012, according to PC World. 

Apple currently uses Liquidmetal technology for the Sim Card ejector in the iPhone 4S, but what could the technology mean for the iPhone 5?

Shatter Proof Screen: While the iPhone 4S has a strong and sturdy glass screen, it is prone to shattering, especially for phones that don't sport the protective outer case. Liquidmetal technology would result in a much stronger--scratch proof-- display, making the phone much more durable overall.

Thinner: The glass used on the iPhone 4S is quite thick. Liquidmetal technology could mean the iPhone 5 will come with not only a thinner display, but a slimmer outer body as well. The iPhone 5 is already expected to be significantly redesigned with an overall thinner and sleeker look. Some of the concept designs can be found here.

 Lighter: The iPhone 4S weighs 4.9 ounces (140 grams), this is significally heavier than some of its competitors in the Samsung Galaxy family. The iPhone 5 is expected to be lighter and if Liquidmetal is adopted in the production we can expect a much lighter phone.  Popular rumors surrounding the iPhone 5:

Rumor Roundup

Release Date:  It's likely the iPhone will launch in October-a year after the iPhone 4S update. While Apple enthusiasts are hoping for a June release, it seems Apple has broken its summer release pattern.The new technology and component shortages leads to delays in production, according to Analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray.

OLED Display:The latest iPhone 5 rumors point to a 1280 x70 resolution OLED screen, which will replace the traditional LCD display. The Korea Times recently reported that Samsung has increased the production of the OLED screen for the new iPhone.The screen is also expected to come with curved glass edge-to-edge display. Since the launch of the new iPad, Apple enthusiasts are convinced the phone will come with a retina display. A bigger 4-inch or 4.6-inch screen is also on the rumors cards, after many iPhone customers have criticized the iPhone screen for being too small.

 Processor: The iPhone 5 will probably come with an A6 Chip, after the iPad was released with the A5X quad-core processor-- touted as twice as fast and four times better performance than Tegra 3 chip. An A6 chip would double the power of the A5 chip that is currently used in the iPhone 4s and the iPad 2. An unnamed source, who claims to have an iPad 3 prototype, sent Boy Genius Report pictures of a diagnostic tool called iBoot, which states a chip model number that appears to be that of the A6 chip.

iOS 6 Software:Ars Technica has published some analysis that suggests some Apple products are already running on iOS 6 software. The analysis would suggest that Apple is either doing a test run on some of its new products. We might expect the new software at the Worldwide Developers Conference, where the iOS 5 software was revealed last year.

Better Battery:The iPhone 4s's battery life is one of its most criticized features. Apple tried to fix the bug with an iOS 5.0.1 update, and while some users said it had improved their battery life, other complained that the performance wasn't good enough. It is therefore likely that Apple are focusing on overall higher battery life and performance, which is paramount if it keeps introducing battery draining features like Siri.

Sophisticated Siri: Tech analysts from the iOS 6 News Blog predict that the new iOS 6 operating system, which is expected to be released ahead of the iPhone 5, will bring with it an even more sophisticated voice recognition system. An upgrade to Siri could possibly mean a better developed interface. Rumors suggest the feature will be activated by simply shaking the phone and website search, navigation and social media sharing will all be possible through a simple voice command.

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