Will the next generation iPhone 5,1 switch from glass and stainless steel to something infinitely more cool -- Liquidmetal? Who know, but that's what's making the rumor rounds this morning. It's easy to see why: Apple purchased perpetual, exclusive consumer electronic rights to the sci-fi sounding substance years ago but, a single-issue SIM-removal tool aside, hasn't done much with it yet. Even after Liquidmetal announced they were shipping commercial parts a few months back, we've yet to see or hear much of anything when it comes to iPhones or iPads.
The T-1000 in Terminator 2 made the term "liquid metal" famous as a mimetic poly-alloy that let a Robert-Patrick looking robot morph shape and turn his arms into blades. This isn't that liquid metal, of course, but it still has several desirable characteristics. Namely, Liquidmetal is strong, highly resistant to corrosion, wears well, and can be moulded in a similar way to thermoplastics.
The original iPhone had an aluminum back with a plastic strip along the bottom. The iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS had (and have) full plastic backs. The iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S have chemically treated glass backs with stainless steel antenna arrays.
Could the current stainless steel antenna array be replaced or reinforced by Liquidmetal? Could the glass back be replaced by something that somehow involves Liquidmetal (yet remains radio friendly)?
While it's only been on the market for a couple of years, there don't seem to be any widespread reports of stainless steel causing problems for the iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S antenna. The glass back, however, looks great but isn't as crack-resistent as some users would like.
The next generation iPhone could potentially include a new casing design, and other new features like LTE and perhaps a slight variance in screen size. What roll Liquidmetal could play in enabling any of that remains uncertain.
So, for now, this is a fun rumors about a cool sounding technology, and nothing more.