A person touted as perhaps the most knowledgeable third-party expert in Liquidmetal Technologies has revealed in an interview that Apple will soon start experimenting with a new prototype injection molding machine.This, according to CultofMac, is the very reason Apple signed that licensing deal with the company, whose space-age materials may soon end up in iPhones and iPods.
The agreement will reportedly give Apple access to the most advanced manufacturing machinery on the planet.
“This is the most advanced injection-molding machine ever made,” this person reportedly said. “It is state-of-the-art.”
The Mac-focused publication quotes a certain Drew Merkel as saying Apple may be on track to create advanced iPhone antennas and seamless cases for its gadgets.
Liquidmetal alloys are known to be extremely hard and lightweight, but the material can be processed as easily as plastics.
Moreover, it can be “customized”, in accordance with the different “recipes” used to make it.
Liquidmetal is not only scratch and corrosion proof, it is also resistant to greasy marks, according to Merkel.
“You get fingerprints all over them and they just disappear,” Merkel says. “You could add gold or silver to get a beautiful look you’ve never seen before.”
Liquidmetal Technologies has been a failing company for a long time, Merkel reveals to CultofMac.
The company tried to land several deals but none paid out as planned.
However, the deal with Apple is expected to turn things around for Liquidmetal Technologies.
Merkel expects the Mac maker to invest in new machinery, as well as factories, with Jonathan Ive driving the entire deal.
Ive is Apple’s senior vice president of design. He is heralded as a pioneer in the field.
“Jonny Ive is probably the number one mover in the Liquidmetal concept,” Merkel says.
“Apple must believe in the technology because the company has been flaky for years. They kept refinancing and refinancing and sometimes couldn’t make payroll.
“The company has been broke for years. This shows how dramatic a deal this is, that Apple would invest in a company that’s quite flaky,” he relates.
Those who watch Apple’s moves closely may not be surprised to hear that Liquidmetal has been making prototypes for Apple for at least a couple of years now.
These prototypes included gadget cases and chassis, bezels for screens etc.
“They have been working with Apple for a long time,” says Merkel. “They were making prototypes, trying to land a big fish.”
Apple is already shipping some Liquidmetal with at least one of its products - the iPhone 3G.
The SIM card ejection pin is reportedly made of the material, although only some units shipped with this version of the tool.
Also noteworthy is that NASA has said Liquidmetal is “poised to redefine materials science as we know it in the 21st century.”
Update: CultofMac fails to note exactly who Merkel is, and what he does (other than being an investor in Liquidmetal Technologies).
In the meanwhile, Softpedia has learned that Merkel is a former steel and plastics industry executive.