"Some Liquidmetal formulations supposedly scratch easily — I hear other formulations may solve this problem."
No, the surface finish of 105 had imperfections under close examination. 106 resolved it. Never easily scratched.
"Some Liquidmetal formulations fail suddenly and catastrophically — so they’re fine until suddenly without warning they’re not; I hear this is why it’s not ideal for wheel hubs, for example; certain formulations may address this, I’m not sure. "
No, this was true with the old formula used with golf clubs. Not an issue with new formulas.
"Some formulations may be tricky to get out of the mold; I heard this through Joshua who some years back posted that the curved edges of the iPhones of the time were too difficult to manufacture in Liquidmetal and that this was one reason the iPhone went back to straight sides. — I imagine that some engineering could address this issue, if it is in fact an issue, but I’m not sure. "
Drafts angles and pin extrusion marks have to be considered for any molded product. The product shape does need to be properly engineered which may give it some limitations. But overall part size is the biggest limitation at present. LQMT fiber strands weaved together (like graphite) will solve this issue and is already in the works
"All formulations of Liquidmetal are more expensive and more difficult to produce than traditional metals. The material cost is higher, the production methods are still being developed, and fewer people are knowledgeable in bmg production (including designers, engineers, ceos etc). "
No, the minimal process steps to mold a part make it cheaper than titanium and most aluminum alloys. The particular development of zirconium sponge greatly reduced cost to make it competitive with other high end materials.
Honestly the only thing keeping it back right now is having the large scale production infrastructure in place as Apple has historically made the Chinese companies invest in the infrastructure. And then Apple will just walk away from that company leaving the company with too much infrastructure and not enough product to keep afloat. So Chinese firms have been pushing back at Apple. So ultimately, LQMT is trying to build enough infrastructure in China to meet Apple demands.
Everyone expects Apple to use the material (if they do) on a smaller scale initially to allow ramping up of infrastructure. This watch would be the perfect starting point. We will see soon enough.