Apple Inc. has renewed its exclusive contract with Liquidmetal Technologies to use the latter’s metal alloys in its products, reveals a document (via MacRumors) filed with the SEC. It has fueled speculations that the next iPhone, likely to be called iPhone 6S or iPhone 7, may see the use of Liquidmetal’s technology. The Cupertino-based tech giant had first inked the deal with Liquidmetal in 2010, but has done little with the technology.
The iPhone maker had used Liquidmetal’s technology to develop the SIM ejector tool for the iPhone 3G. It seems a little odd that Apple would renew the agreement without any plans for the technology. The new contract extends Apple’s relationship with Liquidmetal until February 2016. Liquidmetal’s alloys boast of unique properties such as corrosion resistance, light weight, high strength, and malleability.
Apple has been rumored to be considering Liquidmetal for home buttons, tamper-resistant screws and touch sensors in the iPhone 7. A number of patents over the past few years indicate that Apple continues to work with Liquidmetal technology. Reputed KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that the iPhone 7 would feature a super-strong Series 7000 aluminum body to avoid a bendgate-like scenario.
Despite Apple’s interest in Liquidmetal, it is unclear at this point whether the technology will appear in the iPhone 7. The Cupertino company may have renewed the contract for the next-gen Apple Watch. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone 7 will feature Force Touch technology. As a result, the next-gen iPhone will be 0.2mm thicker and 0.15mm taller than the iPhone 6. The design changes are necessary to accommodate the Force Touch sensors.
Earlier this week, Taiwanese website DigiTimes reported that the Cupertino company is working on a technology that would allow it to get rid of the Home Button. Apple is developing touch and display driver integration (TDDI) single-chip solution that will come integrated with fingerprint sensors. It means the whole screen will act as a fingerprint sensor.
The iPhone 7 is expected to go on sale on September 25th, according to a leaked internal memo from Vodafone Group Plc. The British telecom carrier has told its employees that it would start taking pre-orders for the next iPhone on September 18th.