A large number of chemical compounds are known to exhibit one or several liquid crystalline phases. Despite significant differences in chemical composition, these molecules have some common features in chemical and physical properties. There are three types of thermotropic liquid crystals: discotics, bowlics and rod-shaped molecules. Discotics are flat disc-like molecules consisting of a core of adjacent aromatic rings; the core in a bowlic is not flat but like a rice bowl (a three-dimensional object).   This allows for two dimensional columnar ordering, for both discotics and bowlics. Rod-shaped molecules have an elongated, anisotropic geometry which allows for preferential alignment along one spatial direction.
What could be easier to notice is the edge the new material could give Apple. Remember, there was nothing wildly transformative about Apple's unibody manufacturing process—it was just a bit better —it made their products feel more luxurious and structurally sound. It provided a distinctive look. Maybe it made them more durable; it's hard to really know. In any case, this collection of subtle differences came to define the company's laptop line, and shrewdly, Apple patented the hell out it. If—when—Liquidmetal oozes its way into the next generation of Apple products, you might not be able to point to it, but you'll know it's there.