Could the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini Really Be One in the Same?

For months we've been hearing rumors about an iPhone 5 and iPad Mini device from Apple, but could it be possible that they're actually one and the same? It sounds far fetched, but only if you're not familiar with "rubber-band electronics," which is a nifty technology that allows you to stretch out your hardware similar to how pinch-to-zoom works. Check it out.

Obviously the above video is just a farce and we're having some weekend fun here on HotHardware, but guess what? Rubber-band electronics is a real technology, just not to the extent shown in the video above.

"Researchers at the McCormick School of Engineering, working with a team of scientists from the United States and abroad, have recently developed a design that allows electronics to bend and stretch to more than 200 percent their original size, four times greater than is possible with today’s technology. The key is a combination of a porous polymer and liquid metal," McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University, states in a blog post.

Rubber-Band Electronics
Image Source: Northwestern University

The fundamental problem with stretchable electronics is that electrical conductivity disappears rather quickly, even with a small amount of stretch. So no, the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini aren't the same device, but don't rule out the possibility that future versions could be.

"By combining a liquid metal in a porous polymer, we achieved 200 percent stretchability in a material that does not suffer from stretch," said Yonggang Huang, Joseph Cummings Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University. "Once you achieve that technology, any electronic can behave like a rubber band."