The internet has been abuzz lately with talk of a new Apple Macbook Pro lineup for 2012 which may include with it a new liquidmetal that replaces the companies currently aluminum body design.
News of the switch to liquidmetal was first reported by SlashGear however experts are still debating whether the proposed liquidmetal will be transparent enough for radio frequencies to allow for the proper use of Wi-Fi and bluetooth and even cellular data technologies.
It is possible that the company could use the workaround found on the new iPad design. While those tablets are made out of aluminum, a small black plastic panel is located at the top of each tablet, that panel while not the most appealing part of the tablets design, allows Wi-Fi and 3G/4G signals to escape and then be received by the unit, thus avoiding interference issues caused by the tablets design.
Even if Apple solves the data send/receive issue the datasheet lists the thermal conductivity of the Liquidmetal as 6 Wm-1K-1 which is far below the thermal conductivity of the companies aluminum body designs which have a thermal conductivity level of 35 Wm-1K-1. In fact it is that thermal conductivity that allows MacBook Pro’s to run so quite and cool to the touch.
If Apple is to move forward with its current liquidmetal technology it is likely that the company will be required to create a new cooling system that can compensate for the loss of natural heat conductivity offered by the company’s aluminum body design.
The thermal heating problem however may already have a solution, according to ZDnet:
“Buried on Liquidmetal Technologies website, a reference signals a way to tailor the material for specific thermal and electrical conductivity, so there may be possible to re-engineer the material to overcome this problem.”
With the potential to offer better phone protection over an aluminum design and the ability to produces chassis for phones, computers, tablets at a faster rate of production it is highly likely that Apple will overcome any issues liquidmetal may have and bring the technology into production in the near future, perhaps even through a new MacBook Pro 2012 lineup.