Carbon fiber MacBooks to appear soon?
Long-running rumor gets biennial booster shot
Those long-rumored carbon fiber MacBooks may be inching closer towards reality, if anonymous Asian sources can be trusted.
According to a post on the Japanese website Macotakara (Mac お宝, or Mac Treasure), "some engineer of Apple and Foxconn Technology" has requested carbon fiber parts from an unnamed Japanese company, and "the number of parts is too large to be called 'sample'."
It should be noted that Macotakara did not identify its tattling source, and that the blog posting is clearly labled "Rumor".
Still, this is not the first time that carbon fiber has popped up as a possible replacement for aluminum in Apple's laptop line. The rumor first surfaced in November 2008, and was given new life by an Apple patent application published in November 2010 entitled "Reinforced Device Housing", which described a "housing for an electronic device or other object" made from a "layered fiber-in-matrix type material, such as CFRP."
CFRP, as you materials-scientist types know, stands for either carbon fiber reinforced polymer or carbon fiber reinforced plastic, depending upon whom you ask.
From Apple's carbon fiber case patent: lighter, stronger, sexier, and ... well ... more carbony
Macotakara also reminds us that since March 2011 Apple has employed Kevin Kenney as a Senior Composites Engineer. Kenny was previously President and CEO of Kestrel Bicycles, a company known for its work since 1987 on high-end, custom-designed carbon fiber frames.
If these latest addenda to the carbon fiber–MacBook rumor collection are correct, we may see lighter, slimmer Apple laptops – or, for that matter, carbon fiber iPads or iPhones – in the not-so-distant future. The thinner-laptop possibility, by the way, is supported by another Asian rumor that surfaced on Wednesday: a DigiTimes report that Apple is slimming the light guides for its backlit keyboards from 0.4mm to 0.25mm.
As anyone who remembers those Chesterfield 101 ads from the 1960s will tell you, every silly millimeter counts. ®
Re: Patent... too late!
You have to remember that we are talking about a company with executives that have to resist the temptation to file patents on the arrangement of their breakfast every morning.
Can I patent making a mobile phone out of carbon fibre? I mean just to get in before Apple do the blindingly fucking obvious.
Also, diamond, bamboo, oak, cedar, MDF, acrylic, slate, paper mache, tungsten, titanium, aluminum, aluminium, unobtanium and ice. Oh and the skin of Steve Jobs. What? Too soon?
You might as well patent the idea of a cardboard box.
Given the three independent claims, being 1, 8 & 17, are so overly broad the other claims are there to try to make as much as possible stick by defining it more specifically. Clearly claim 1 is bogus as I can't tell you how many boats fit this description, heck a neighbor glued up a plywood dory in his shed over 30 years ago that is exactly this. Likewise #2 hangs up on many boats made since the early 70's. Frankly most of this is crap unless they can get away with something like 'carbon fibers are soooo novel and very different from all other fibers used for the last half century and this is unique because nobody would have thought of substituting carbon fibers for other types of fibers'. Somehow, I don't see that happening.
Finally, @AC 19:52, it isn't a design patent as it describes functionality not ornamentation and further it isn't a patent at all, it's only an application and therefore it has to be rubber stamped by some brainless 'let the court's figure it out' bureaucrat before it becomes
totally stupid a patent.
Yeah, because a laptop case is the cutting edge of carbon fibre lay up. I can't help thinking the F1 and aircraft industries are looking at it and thinking it's all a bit last century.
Also the 'illiterate morons' are probably from the US, not form it.