It looks like Apple is putting their newly acquired IP to good use: They have recently posted job listings seeking engineers to work with the amorphous Liquidmetal, presumably to use the technology for more than just a simple SIM ejector tool.
The jobs in question are for an “Amorphous Metal Development Manager/Engineer” and “Metal Process Development Engineer“, who will be “Managing a team responsible for developing amorphous alloy composition, molding and forming processes, and secondary operations (e.g. machining, grinding, finishing) as applicable to Apple requirements.”
Liquidmetal is an advanced alloy that can be manufactured in a way similar to plastic (it can be cast to tighter tolerances, which reduces to need for additional machining, and in turn lowers the cost of production). It also has some “elasticity”, so it is not as prone to dents or dings as other metals.
As the demand for product “miniaturization” continues in the electronic casings industry, Liquidmetal® alloys enable smaller, thinner and more durable designs. Current casings technology is pushed to the limit in supporting these new designs and specifications, especially requirements for larger LCD screens, thinner wall sections and pure metallic surface finishes for products such as mobile phones, PDA’s and cameras.
It will be interesting to see how Liquidmetal gadgets preform in the real world, and whether or not customers will be able to tell a difference. (Note: There are a few mobile devices that utilize this alloy, but none as mainstream as the iPhone.)