Last week we found out that Apple had closed a deal with Liquidmetal, a Californian-based manufacturer of an alloy that is extremely light, hard and that shows a glass-like structure. From what we heard, Apple had acquired "substantially all of [Liquidmetal's] intellectual property assets," not to mention a "perpetual, worldwide, fully-paid, exclusive license to commercialize such intellectual property in the field of consumer electronic products in exchange for a license fee." [Engadget]
Now, it turns out that Apple might have been using Liquidmetal's technologies for a while now, and you know where? In the SIM-ejector tool of some iPhone 3G units, Cult Of Mac reports.
"The pin for ejecting the iPhone 3G SIM card is made from Liquidmetal, an extremely hard and light metal alloy, according to Atakan Peker, the alloy’s co-inventor.
Peker recognized the metal when he opened his iPhone 3G. It’s as hard as nails and has a distinctive color and feel.
That’s my metal,” he said. “I recognized it immediately. Take it from an expert, that’s Liquidmetal."
Wired is also reporting that the same metal is being used for the ejector tool of the iPad 3G: "the SIM-ejector-too is indeed light and stiff, and almost impossible to bend."
It's not clear whether Apple decided to use Liquidmetal's alloy in those tiny ejector tools to test the technolohy prior to the acquisition or not, but my guess is that yes, they wanted to test the alloy's unique capabilities, but they probably also some manufacturing problem for the US market, and that's why they went with a Californian-based company.
Anyway, there you have it. You've been using Liquidmetal stuff all along. Happy now?