Jul 14, 2014 02:31 AM EDT
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple a patent Tuesday that involves a special construction process using LiquidMetal and Sapphire glass display.
According to Fox News, Apple had recently announced that, until 2015, it had exclusive rights to LiquidMetal's unique alloy. LiquidMetal is a bulk amorphous alloy considered an exotic metal. When in liquid form, it resembles metal but moves similar to molten plastic.
Apple's new patent and acquisition of LiquidMetal, which has only been used to make a SIM card ejector, military equipment and medical device, points to rumors that the company is using the material for its future iPhone and iPad products.
The LiquidMetal will be used to stabilize the Sapphire glass displays used in Apple's future devices so the glass won't break when dropped, according to the patent. The stabilization will help keep the glass from also popping off if it is dropped.
Since 2007, the computer company has relied on a plastic chassis and rubberized gasket to protect the glass display of its products. All other iPhone models up to the iPhone 5S utilize the plastic chassis and rubberized gasket technology, Fox reported.
The glass displays will now be able to be placed directly into the iPhone and iPad's metal bezel as the LiquidMetal is used in a new metal injection molding process. LiquidMetal is expected to provide protection between the glass display and metal chassis.
Since the technology is very new and cutting edge, it has never been tested on consumer smartphones or tablets, according to Fox.
It is unclear whether or not Apple's new iPhone 6 will be equipped with the LiquidMetal technology when it is released sometime near the end of summer. But Apple has an agreement with GT Technologies for manufacturing large amounts of sapphire glass, so the newest smartphone could have a Sapphire glass display included.
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