Well, that’s what the rumor mill has to say about the body of new iPhone 5: it will be made of Liquidmetal or Metallic Glass. When I hear a name like Liquidmetal, I can’t help but think at the material James Cameron’s Terminator was made of in the second movie of the franchise. Hopefully unfortunately, despite the name, we are not talking about liquid metal here.
The latest rumors have mentioned the iPhone 5 design and the materials that will be used for the manufacturing process, and two names stood out: Liquidmetal and Metallic Glass. As we talk, HTC already has their smartphones covered in ceramic metal manufactured using aluminium micro arc oxidation process and rumor has it that Samsung is preparing a Galaxy S3 with ceramic coating, too.
In 2010, Apple gained the rights to use Liquidmetal technology, and this material is a mixture between nickel, zirconium, titanium and some other metals. The result of this mixture is an alloy that is way more damage resistant than other metals. As far as I know, that small pin that comes in each iPhone package, used to pull out the SIM drawer, is made of Liquidmetal.
As about Metallic Glass, this is not a particular material, but a definition of the mixtures that are cooled fro liquid state into solid form without crystallizing in a chaotic molecule arrangement. For example, Liquidmetal is just a Metallic Glass class.
The problem is that this material is pretty hard to break and process and it will cost Apple way more than the glass that is currently covering the front and back of the iPhone terminals. Anyway the glass will still be used for the front side of the iPhone 5, as the Liquidmetal is not transparent, thus it will be used only for the sides and the back of the case.