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Metallic Glass iPhone 5 to battle pottery Samsung Galaxy S3

Rumours from Korean tech industry

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The next iPhone will be cased in "Liquidmetal" says a Korean news outlet quoting "industry sources".

The talkative Korean rumour-mongers have also repeated predictions that Samsung's upcoming S3, their next Galaxy smartphone, will be made of high-tech ceramics.

Liquidmetal is the trade name for metal alloy with the structure of glass that can be injection moulded like plastic but is 20 times stronger. The Reg discussed its unusual qualities here. Despite some reports suggesting that the current iPhone's glass display will be replaced by Liquidmetal, it's most likely that it's the back casing that would get a Liquidmetal makeover, if Apple decide to go ahead and do it.

Thus far the only iPhone bit to have been made of the cunning metal-glass is the SIM card removal tool in the 3G. The California-based inventors of the material Liquidmetal Technologies Ltd have signed an exclusive license with Apple. According to Liquidmetal's annual report, they signed a deal with Apple in August 2010 to allow Apple a "perpetual, worldwide, fully-paid, exclusive license to commercialize our intellectual property in the field of “consumer electronic” products. Apple are believed to have paid out $11million for the contract.

It looks as though the glossy glass-that-acts-like-metal rumour could be on the money, though the June release date - at Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) - touted in the Korean article seems unlikely. ®

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