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In the midst of all of the recent excitement over the upcoming Apple event, the company has been quietly granted another patent this past Tuesday that could significantly improve the functionality and design of further Apple devices.
Enter liquidmetal: an alloy that is a combination of a number of different metals (think copper, titanium, aluminum, and nickel) that is known for its flexibility and durability. It was founded by Liquidmetal Technology, but a number of years back, Apple was granted rights to the use of a number of patents attributed to liquidmetal. In fact, last year Apple renewed their exclusivity rights. However, the company has yet to do much with them beyond making pins for iPhone SIM card trays. This, in turn, has stirred up a number of patents and subsequent rumors as to what the company will do with liquidmetal.
So what’s the latest? According to a recent patent acquired by the company, the alloy might just be used in conjunction with Apple tech in order to build touch-sensing surfaces. As the patent details it:
“A touch sensing system comprising: a substrate comprising sense pads, each defined by a region of a crystalline form of a metal alloy and adjacent a region of an amorphous form of the metal alloy; conducting traces in electrical connection with the sense pads; and a control unit connected to at least one of the conducting traces and configured to calculate a position of an object relative to the substrate; wherein each sense pad forms at least one circuit element.”
So, simply put, Apple is looking to use liquidmetal to form a better integrated touchscreen that would be more responsive and more accurate in order to avoid any mistakes or accidental interaction (like when you have your iPhone in your pocket or bag).
This patent falls closely in line with the rumor that Apple has been considering a new smartphone with an all-glass body and curved display forecasted by top analyst and Apple guru Ming-Chi Kuo. But will we be seeing a new and improved iPhone 8 with liquidmetal? Or something else? We will find out for sure when September, 2017 draws nearer.
What do you think about liquidmetal? Let us know in the comments below!