All that luscious metal on the back of those purported images of the iPhone 5 — my first question was: is that stuff LiquidMetal? It surprised me that, with all the talk of the metal components of the newly leaked part photos if anyone was going to confirm or debunk the LiquidMetal rumors, which have persisted for several months now.
Forbes finally weighed in on what kind of metal we’re seeing on the recent photos, and they appear to believe that it is LiquidMetal:
Apple CEO Cook said, “We’re going to double down on secrecy on products.” Coincidentally at the same time online photos of what appear to be parts of iPhone 5 were published by 9To5Mac. In the picture published 9To5Mac, the back of the phone appears to be Liquidmetal.
Writer Nigam Arora appears to be the first to suggest that the back of the iPhone parts we’ve seen is LiquidMetal — but his article really isn’t about that detail; he spends more time talking about how, as per their agreement with Apple, LiquidMetal doesn’t stand to make major gains, even if their unique metal alloy is used in mass production, and thus, their stock is overhyped. That may or may not be true — even though Apple controls some licensing for LiquidMetal, I cannot imagine that means that Cupertino doesn’t need to remunerate them for materials used beyond their lump-sum licensing payment — it’s interesting that Mr. Arora is so sure that what he is seeing is LiquidMetal.
My first instinct was that the metal piece was not LiquidMetal, and that perhaps, because the alloy is more expensive than regular aluminum, that the metals seen in the photo might be place-holders. It could also explain the color mismatching as well. Furthermore, it would seem to me that, because LiquidMetal has historically be used on products to give them a unique, premium look, I imagined its use on the iPhone 5 to include the holographic Apple logo, or otherwise some other creative usage.
If the parts are real, and that’s LiquidMetal being used, it doesn’t seem to be delivering a look or purpose that would be worthy of the hype.
By Michael Nace