Apple has inked a deal with a Delaware company that currently makes strong and light metal alloys for tennis rackets and medical equipment.
Liquidmetal Technology owns the intellectual property rights to a non-crystalline alloy that's 2.5 times stronger than titanium and 1.5 times harder than stainless steel. It's not clear if it is less prone to attenuation than the stainless steel currently used in the iPhone 4's much-maligned case, but we'd be willing to place a bet on it being just that.
According to Newsfactor, the deal has created an Apple-owned subsidiary of the company which will have exclusive rights to use the alloy in cases for consumer electronics products.
Apple's unibody computer cases carved from a single block of aerospace-grade aluminium have proved popular with pundits and punters alike, and replacing aluminium with another metal alloy shouldn't be too much of a stretch for the company's manufacturing partners.
Apple has paid an undisclosed fee for exclusive access to the technology in its field. We're not sure what will happen to current users of the Liquidmetal alloy, including Nokia, but we guess they'll have to pay the Cupertino company or look elsewhere.