Apple's New Sapphire And LiquidMetal Patent Clear Way For New iPhone 6 Design

May 28 2014, 10:38am CDT | by

Something funny has been going on in the Apple leak-o-verse of late. YouTube and the tech blogs are awash in “leaks” of the “iPhone 6 dummy.” One video, released on the French tech blog Nowhereelse.fr features a hand rotating a mockup of a 4.7″ iPhone with winsome Chinese music in the background. We get it, this is a leak from China!

null . Dickson played a big role in the last-minute leaks of what turned out to be actual factory-made backplates for the iPhone 5S and 5C. These leaks set a new standard for iPhone foreknowledge, but it is still unclear who leaked them and why. Fast forward to the 2014 edition of the same show and Dickson is at it again, this time much earlier in the process and with much less credible artifacts. It seems abundantly clear that the current “leaks” are really just manufacturing prototypes, likely 3D printed, created by companies that make iPhone cases. In other words, these are derivative industrial products at best.

The fact that these “dummies” almost certainly do not come from Apple’s actual factories does not, however, mean that their geometry is not accurate. The 4.7″ screen, the iPod Touch-style rounded edges and side buttons, these may well be spot on. These, after all, are the details that the case manufacturers care about, and getting a jump on competitors is the raison d’être for these prototypes. But a product is more than geometry, of course.

In an amusing video on the UrAvgConsumer YouTube channel, Judner Aura shows an iPhone 6 dummy (acquired via Sonny Dickson) to a seemingly random assortment of young New York hipsters. The almost-universal reaction, after the obligatory “Wow,” is that it reminds them of a Samsung phone! Considering that the size of the dummy is similar to the last few Galaxy S smartphones, this is not surprising. But the demonstration, funny as it is, misses the point of what makes Apple products unique and valuable.

Four pieces of Apple news shed some light on what could make the next iPhone, be it “6″ or “Air,” truly unique. First, just yesterday Apple was granted U.S. Patent No. 8,738,104 for “Methods and systems for integrally trapping a glass insert in a metal bezel.” In practical terms this means that it can now seamlessly encase glass, or more likely sapphire, inside of LiquidMetal bezels. Second, Apple has been ramping up sapphire production through its partner GT Advanced Technologies and 9to5Mac reports that sapphire ingots from GTAT have started shipping to one of Apple’s Chinese manufacturing partners. Third, AppleInsider reports that Apple just renewed its exclusive contract to use LiquidMetal in consumer products through 2015. And, according to Jonny Evans at Computer World, “Apple can annually renew its exclusive rights for the rest of time if it wants.” Fourth and finally, LiquidMetal Technologies has signed a more favorable agreement with Visser Precision Cast which previously had an exclusive arrangement to manufacture the material. Under the new agreement, LiquidMetal can contract with other suppliers as well. The move sets the stage for greater adoption of amorphous metal casting technology and, crucially, lower prices.

There is no telling if the machines are actually in gear for this combination of technologies to make it into the next iPhone. The sapphire component seems assured, but no company has reported scaling up LiquidMetal production yet. But the point is that if not now, then next year. This is how Apple makes high-value products, by using materials and processes unavailable to other companies and pairing it with industrial design and user experience finesse that is equally rare.

The supposed prototypes that have been circulating do not have any of that. They are in fact, just dummies, and the design details such that they are seem questionable and not to Apple’s standards. People who think the iPhone 6 dummy looks like a Samsung phone are being dummies themselves! Apple will not come off the manufacturing line with something that is not stunningly beautiful and innovative.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

To keep up with Quantum of Content, please subscribe to my updates on Facebook, follow me on Twitter  or add me on Google+.

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Apple Turns To Crowdsourcing For Maps
Apple Turns To Crowdsourcing For Maps
The company is working hard to improve their Maps App
 
 
Apple’s Mac Sales Are Back
Apple’s Mac Sales Are Back
Their recent earnings show that computers are coming back
 
 
Cook Talks to the Chinese Authority on the Security of User Data on iCloud
Cook Talks to the Chinese Authority on the Security of User Data on iCloud
The Apple CEO has a conversation with the high Chinese officials regarding the iCloud user data security threat
 
 
A8X Chip of the iPad Air 2 Reportedly Contain Triple Cores
A8X Chip of the iPad Air 2 Reportedly Contains Triple Cores
Along with the triple-core A8X chip, the iPad Air 2 is said to feature the 2GB RAM
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

European Champions League standings
Paris, Oct 22 (IANS) Following are the European Champions League standings for Groups E to H after Tuesday's matches (tabulated under matches played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, against, points), according to Xinhua...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Rogerio set to break Giggs world record
Rio de Janeiro, Oct 22 (IANS) Sao Paulo goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni is one victory away from earning his fourth Guinness World Record by eclipsing a mark held by Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs. The 41-year-old will...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Ryan Reynolds can't keep his hands off Blake Lively
Ryan Reynolds was ''really sweet'' to Blake Lively at the Angel City Ball. The couple, who got married in September 2012, made their first red carpet appearance together in New York City on Monday night (10.20.14) since...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kris Jenner doesn't know who Bruce Jenner is dating
Kris Jenner has ''no idea'' whether Bruce Jenner is dating her best friend. The 58-year-old reality TV star, who split from the Olympic gold medallist last October after 23 years of marriage, claims she doesn't know if...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
When Rihanna dressed like 'Harry Potter'
New York, Oct 22 (IANS) Singer Rihanna was spotted here in a Harry Potter style costume. She wore the wizard-like get-up while heading for a business meal here Monday, reports mirror.co.uk. The 26-year-old combined a...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Germany raises humanitarian aid to Iraq
Berlin, Oct 22 (IANS) Germany has pledged a further 20 million euros (about 25.5 million dollars) in humanitarian aid to Iraq, the foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday. The additional funds are immediately...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
India calls on Israel, Palestine to resume peace process
United Nations, Oct 22 (IANS) India has called upon Israelis and Palestinians to resume the peace process as "dialogue remains the only viable option" to address the issues confronting the region. In a brief statement...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Airstrikes help ground forces fight IS: Pentagon
Washington, Oct 22 (IANS) Kurdish forces are in control of the majority of the Syrian city of Kobane despite efforts by the Islamic State (IS) to take the town, a spokesperson for US defence department said Tuesday....
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Palestine, Israel urged at UN to halt unilateral initiatives
United Nations, Oct 22 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon Tuesday called on Palestine and Israel to overcome differences and halt unilateral initiatives that fuel mistrust, so as to pursue long-term stability in...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
China urges Israel to create conditions for peace
United Nations, Oct 22 (IANS) Chinese government has called on Israel to create necessary conditions for the resumption of peace talks with Palestine. At an open debate of the Security Council on the situation of the...
Read more on Politics Balla