Apple snags Liquidmetal IP, may just revive the eMac with an amorphous metal chassis

 Apple, News, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Apple snags Liquidmetal IP, may just revive the eMac with an amorphous metal chassis
Aug 102010

Ah, who are we kidding — we’re guessing a true, bona fide headless iMac would hit the market before the eMac ever makes a triumphant return, but it’s surely a novel thought, no? In a recent 8-K filing with the SEC, Apple made public that it had essentially 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.” In other words, Apple just bought up the rights to integrate Liquidmetal’s amorphous metal alloys into its product line, which would allow the company to create metallic wares without sweating the typical structural or strength limitations found in conventional metals. There’s no mention of dollars exchanged here, nor any details on what exactly Apple plans to do with its newfound IP (shown after the break), but we’re guessing the procurement team didn’t sign the dotted line for kicks and giggles.

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Use Your iPhone As An Electronic “iKey”

 accessories, Apps, iphone, News  Comments Off on Use Your iPhone As An Electronic “iKey”
Mar 102010


The Daily Telegraph reports that a new Apple patent has surfaced which could potentially allow the iPhone, or another Apple portable, to act as a sort of electronic key. The potential applications are as limitless as the number of things locked by old-school metal keys. It could be used for cars, offices, homes, or lockers. Basically, anything that could have an electronic receiver mounted to it in place of a metal tumbler-style lock could then use an iPhone as a key.

While Ars Technica notes that “the patent application itself merely describes a unique way of using motion detection to generate an input, such as turning a virtual combination lock-style dial,” the patent itself, as reported by the Telegraph, says that the device could be “any suitable electronic device such as a portable media player, personal data assistant or electronic lock” that could open up any number of physical lock types just by communicating wirelessly.

Electronic key fobs already exist for certain models of cars, most notably the Toyota Prius, which not only allow keyless entry but also allow you to start the car without a traditional metal key. If Apple actually implements this patent and allows iPhones and iPods to act as an “iKey,” carrying a ring of metal keys and fobs around in your pocket could eventually seem as passé as a pocketwatch or pager seems today.

While the patent notes that the device would have to be paired with the locks in order to work, and that all communications would be encrypted, people are naturally going to be skeptical about the security of an iKey compared to a traditional metal key. I can see some other potential pitfalls: losing your iPhone, or having it stolen suddenly, means not having access to your car, your house, or anything else accessed with your iKey. Plus, if you’re dumb enough to store your access code on your iPhone in a place where a thief can find it easily, it also means that, immediately after finding your home address in Contacts, the thief could gain entry to your house with next to no effort. Or how about this: you come home after a night of carousing at the bar, power up your iPhone to gain access to your front door, but then find a blank screen staring back at you from your iPhone because your battery died.

While the idea sounds great on paper and certainly stokes my science-fiction geek fires, the practical application of the iKey sounds like a giant headache.


Feb 242010


Martin Schrotz is a man after our own hearts. He’s taken the editors’ choice for best smartphone of 2009 and tricked it out with a handsome new back cover made out of titanium. Not sufficiently pleased with the plastic casing provided by Apple, Martin opened up his favorite CAD program and refashioned his phone into the much hardier and indubitably more awesome machine you see before you. The new backing is built out of a titanium alloy that allows RF waves through and therefore requires no plastic parts to let the wireless communications flow. Check out the gallery for more before hitting the link below to bug Martin to provide you with a video or a price estimate.

24feb109h43v24feb10oub4235vcr24feb10po3b4tmm[via engadget]