Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has extended a deal that gives it exclusive rights to manufacture consumer electronic products made from an incredibly strong alloy known as Liquidmetal, reports Apple Insider. As noted on the Liquidmetal Technologies website, this material “uniquely combines the strength of forging with intricate molding capabilities” with “twice the strength of titanium.”
According to a recent filing made with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Apple’s latest deal with Liquidmetal Technologies extends its licensing agreement until February 5, 2015. The iPhone maker originally entered into a “Master Transaction Agreement” with Liquidmetal Technologies in August of 2010. In that agreement, the Cupertino-based company gained access to all of Liquidmetal’s “intellectual property assets,” including its namesake “bulk metallic glasses” material. As noted in the agreement filed with the SEC, Apple secured its rights to manufacture consumer electronics products made of this material through a wholly owned subsidiary of Liquidmetal Technologies called Crucible Intellectual Property.
Although Apple has held the exclusive rights to use this material for consumer electronics products since 2010, the company has so far only used Liquidmetal to make a SIM card eject tool for the iPhone. One reason for Apple’s limited use of Liquidmetal may be related to the difficulties associated with producing this material in large quantities. Atakan Peker, one of the inventors behind this revolutionary alloy, described the current production limitations of Liquidmetal in an exclusive interview with Business Insider in 2012.
“This is a technology that has yet to be matured and perfected both in manufacturing process and application development,” Peker told Business Insider. “I should note that this is a completely new and different metal technology. Therefore, there is no suitable manufacturing infrastructure yet to take full advantage of this alloy technology.”