The web is buzzing with rumors that Apple will turn to an alloy called Liquidmetal when it releases its sixth generation iPhone.
Korea IT News reported that this alloy of zirconium, titanium, nickel, copper and other metals with "an outer surface smooth like liquid" is likely to be used by Apple. It stated the iPhone 5's debut is expected to be at the Worldwide Developers Conference held in June in San Francisco.
The alloy, according to Liquidmetal Technologies' website , has been used in a broad range of military, medical, luxury, consumer, industrial and sporting goods products. It is said to "combine over twice the strength of titanium with the processing efficiency of plastics."
Liquidmetal has been used by Apple to make the SIM card ejector tool in iPads and to make some other internal parts and mechanical components, tech blog Wired stated.
Wired also reported that Apple received the rights in 2010 to use Liquidmetal, discovered at the California Institute of Technology in 1992. Described as "basically metallic glass," it is said to have favorable properties including high strength and wear resistance against scratching and denting.
This isn't the first rumor involving a metal back and a unibody case, also being discussed. Wired said these rumors started before the unveiling of the iPhone 4S.
CNET referred to other reports that said Apple smartphones would have aluminum backs similar to iPads and that metal would take the place of reinforced glass.
While reports of more metal use aren't new, AppleInsider questioned the Korea IT News report. While the Worldwide Developers Conference had been the place of previous iPhone announcements, last year the iPhone 4S was not unveiled until after WWDC and was launched in October.
AppleInsider said rumors this year point to a similar time frame as far as the launch of Apple's sixth-generation iPhone. Its unveiling is rumored to be set for September or October.