Apple Patent Hints at Sapphire iPhone with LiquidMetal Chassis

The US Patent and Trademark office has granted Apple a patent that hints at future iPhones using Liquidmetal in conjunction with a sapphire display to form a single chassis for the device. So far, the only use of LiquidMetal has been the SIM card ejector tool that shipped with earlier iPhones such as the 3G and 3GS.

Patent number 8,738,104 is actually six years old but was just granted on May 27, 2014.

Methods and apparatus for creating an overall assembly formed from a transparent member and a metal member are disclosed. According to one aspect of the present invention, a method includes positioning a transparent member in a mold configured for insertion molding, and providing a liquid metal into the mold. The method also includes hardening the liquid metal in the mold. Hardening the liquid metal includes binding the metal to the transparent member to create the integral assembly.

Currently, an iPhone's display attaches to a shock-absorbing rubberized gasket to help reduce the impact in an event of a drop. While this works sometimes, LiquidMetal is much more tougher and harder-wearing. Apple's patent however describes a different process that would form glass (sapphire) into a metal member such as the iPhone's frame.

We don't see Apple using this process on the next generation iPhone, although it will likely include a Sapphire display. However, perhaps by 2015, we could see a tougher iPhone with a LiquidMetal chassis.

Read More via Apple Insider


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