Apple and Liquidmetal Technologies have signed an agreement under which Apple will be able to use liquid metal technologies in its future consumer electronics products. While it is completely unclear when Apple is able to actually use amorphous metals, it is rather intriguing that Apple is generally interested in the technology.
Based on a SEC filing, on August 5, 2010, Liquidmetal Technologies entered into a master transaction agreement with Apple, pursuant to which Liquidmetal contributed substantially all of its intellectual property assets to a newly organized special-purpose, wholly-owned subsidiary, which granted to Apple a perpetual, worldwide, fully-paid, exclusive license to commercialize such intellectual property in the field of consumer electronic products in exchange for a license fee. The IP company granted back to Liquidmetal a perpetual, worldwide, fully-paid, exclusive license to commercialize such intellectual property in all other fields of use.
Liquidmetal alloys are a new class of materials that redefines performance and cost paradigms. Liquidmetal alloys represent the first enabling materials technology since the creation of thermoplastics and possess characteristics that make them superior in many ways to other commercially-viable materials. First, they have an "amorphous" atomic structure, which is unprecedented for structural metals. Second, they include a multi-component chemical composition, which can be optimized for various properties and processes. Finally, they lend themselves to process technology similar to that possessed by plastics.
Usage of liquidmetail alloys will allow Apple to create consumer electronics of very different shapes or form-factors not possible today. The main question is whether Apple will exclusively use those technologies and when.