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Apple fans drool over Liquidmetal widget

Amazing material put to mundane use

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It should come as no surprise that Apple fanboys are moistened by their favourite vendor's use of novel materials, and you can understand that excitement when a device uses a clever new compound in its construction.

But it's downright scary when the discovery that a tiny, often overlooked iPhone accessory is formed from a fancy alloy prompts so many blog posts and fansite write-ups after being revealed by Cult of Mac.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the iPhone's SIM ejector tool is made of something called Liquidmetal.

For those of you who aren't metallurgists, Liquidmetal is a California Institute of Technology-developed alloy that's strong, light, and highly resistant to wear and corrosion.

We mean no disrepect to Liquidmetal's inventors or the team the commercialises this tougher-than-titanium substance, but what sort of arse gets excited by the fact that Apple has used this substance to make a widget uses to ping out a phone's SIM tray?

Apparently, the Liquidmetal SIM ejector tool only shipped with US-bound iPhone 3G handests - 'lesser' European and Asian buyers got steel tools instead. No doubt they're feeling extremely hard done by - or would be if their ejectors popped out the SIM trays any less efficiently than the Liquidmetal one does.

The steel ejector that came with this reporter's UK-sourced iPhone 4 certainly does the job well enough, and we defy anyone outside the Reality Distortion Field to prove that Liquidmetal - as good as it may be for other applications - makes for a superior SIM ejection experience.

Apple might well have chosen the SIM ejector tool as a testbed to sample Liquidmetal's resilience in real world usage, and that's fair enough. But does it really warrant so many awestruck column inches?

Of course, what's really interesting here is that Apple has paid Liquidmetal Technologies, the company formed to licence the alloy, at least $11m for the exclusive right to use the material in consumer electronics kit. ®

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