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Apple's aluminum strategy aids shift to greener products - report

post #1 of 53
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Even as rumors have emerged that the next iPhone could transition back to an aluminum casing, Apple's move toward highly recyclable aluminum cases for its products has contributed significantly to the company's efforts to achieve environmental sustainability.

In 2007, Apple CEO Steve Jobs penned an open letter highlighting changes to the company's environmental policy in hopes of achieving "a greener Apple." In the letter, Jobs specifically noted the Cupertino, Calif., Mac maker's adoption of aircraft-grade aluminum in order to improve recycling uptake.

At the time, Jobs forecast that Apple would increase recycling effectiveness, which is measured by calculating the total weight recycled in a given year divided by the total weight sold seven years prior, from 9.5 percent in 2006 to 28 percent in 2010. The company has been remarkably successful in its efforts, achieving a 66.4 percent recycle rate in 2009 and setting a goal of 70 percent for 2010-2015.

Recycled aluminum requires just 5 percent of the energy needed to produce primary aluminum, while emitting 95 percent less green house gases. According to Klaus Kleinfeld, CEO of aluminum giant Alcoa, the metal is "infinitely recyclable," with 75 percent of all aluminum produced since 1888 still in active use today.



Alcoa sees rapid growth of aluminum in the electronics market, as evidenced by its recent acquisition of a minority stake in Electronics Recycling International, the largest recycler of electronics waste in the U.S. "Consumer electronics represents a fast-growing market for aluminum, with the aluminum content in laptops alone expected to increase 30 per cent by 2013 from a 2010 baseline," said Chief Sustainability Officer Kevin Anton.

Apple popularized aluminum laptops in 2003 with the introduction of the aluminum PowerBook G4. In 2008, the company outdid itself by implementing a custom-developed aluminum unibody enclosure for the release of the MacBook Air and later the MacBook and MacBook Pro. The unibody manufacturing process utilizes "computer numerical control" machines to carve a chassis out of one block of aluminum.



Aluminum has made its way to Apple's post-PC products as well, within an appearance in various versions of the iPod, iPhone and iPad. Apple indicated in its recent Environmental Report for the iPad 2 that the device's aluminum casing is "highly desired by recyclers." Although, interestingly enough, the second-generation tablet requires slightly more aluminum (135 g compared to 125 g) than its predecessor, despite being 15 percent lighter.



Some reports have speculated that the concurrent release of the white model of the iPad 2 was made possible because its aluminum back does not suffer from the same light leakage issues as the iPhone 4's glass panels. The white iPhone 4 was announced last year, but was delayed by Apple until this spring.

Given Apple's frequent use of aluminum in its products, speculation has emerged that the next-generation iPhone will feature an aluminum back. The original iPhone used an aluminum back, but was phased out in favor of a plastic back on the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.

The iPhone 4 currently sports front and rear glass panels and a stainless steel outer frame that doubles as an antenna. Apple's decision to use the frame as an antenna drew criticism last summer after some users reported dropped calls and reduced signal bars when gripping the phone.
post #2 of 53
Being greener is just a bonus to the fact that it is the best looking, best built laptop ever. The engineering and manufacturing is top notch compared to all the others which seen like they are designed and slapped together just to get them out the door in time.
post #3 of 53
It's highly recyclable, strong, beautiful and lovely to the touch. Why on earth is Apple the only company using it as a primary material in their computer chassis? I wouldn't buy a plastic computer now. I love waking up in the morning and feeling the cold metal of my MacBook Pro when I start work. It's a huge step forward in laptop quality.

The factoid about 75% of all aluminium produced since 1888 still being in use is astonishing.
post #4 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post

It's highly recyclable, strong, beautiful and lovely to the touch. Why on earth is Apple the only company using it as a primary material in their computer chassis? I wouldn't buy a plastic computer now. I love waking up in the morning and feeling the cold metal of my MacBook Pro when I start work. It's a huge step forward in laptop quality.

The factoid about 75% of all aluminium produced since 1888 still being in use is astonishing.

Apple has had to invent machining techniques to pull off the unibody design. Other companies are incapable of doing similar stuff.
post #5 of 53
I was surprised that the latest Apple TV has a plastic case. Maybe that's just an interim design, before Apple either goes to an aluminum enclosure or embeds the circuit board into OEM HDTV sets.

So maybe Apple's purchase of Liquid Metal was for developing techniques for "injection molding" aluminum the way Liquid Metal does it with their platinum-based alloy. As slick and scratch-resistant as the Liquid Metal alloy is, the material cost may be too high for use in enclosures as big as MacBook Pros, Airs, iMacs, Mac Pros and the like. And if it's hard to recycle for whatever reason, that too could be a deal killer. (Maybe Apple could offer a discount to owners who trade in their old Apple products for recycling...)

Why "injection molding" (quoted because the Liquid Metal process is far more advanced than just injection molding)? Because as difficult as the process is to set up, it must take far less time than grinding out all that aluminum from a solid billet. Instead of forming the billet and machining 80% of it out, you could just form the enclosure. Boom.

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post #6 of 53
While I'm certainly PRO-recycling and appreciate products that are designed to be recyclable, I don't get why people get SO excited about the _recyclability_ of what should be highly durable products. I loved my aluminum MBP and my brand spanking new unibody MBP because they are rock solid _durable_ laptops...

In fact I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of MacBook buyers throw far more aluminium in the non-recyclable trash bin every year than there is in one MacBook...

I'm just saying that for ME, even being very pro-recycling, I don't think much about my laptops end of life and care more durability and reduction of toxins.
post #7 of 53
True, Macs are very green from the usable-life perspective too!
post #8 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post

It's highly recyclable, strong, beautiful and lovely to the touch. Why on earth is Apple the only company using it as a primary material in their computer chassis? I wouldn't buy a plastic computer now. I love waking up in the morning and feeling the cold metal of my MacBook Pro when I start work. It's a huge step forward in laptop quality.

The factoid about 75% of all aluminium produced since 1888 still being in use is astonishing.

Apple invested a lot in those machines for cutting and crafting those aluminum blocks.

Other companies simply don't want to spend that much on things they can't brag on the spec sheet.
post #9 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by ihxo View Post

Apple invested a lot in those machines for cutting and crafting those aluminum blocks.

Other companies simply don't want to spend that much on things they can't brag on the spec sheet.

3D nonsense is more important these days for pseudo tech's journalists.
post #10 of 53
Now all we need are recyclable batteries... Maybe Hydrogen Fuel Cells as described on that patent not so long ago?

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post #11 of 53
Contrary to popular myth, if the correct materials are chosen, many other materials can be recycled other than aluminum -- even glass, plastic.Composite materials may just be more difficult to recycle but it can be done.

The main advantage of aluminum or glass in recycling is that the technologies have been there for both materials The thing with plastic is that the cost of recycling may be even more costly than manufacture from fresh materials. This is even more true for composite plastics. However, once you factor in the cost of not recycling plastics on the environment, the economics of recycling plastics could be justified.

The other advantages of aluminum, aside from is elegance is that it could serve as a heat sink also.

Another poster mentioned about the manufacture of the unibody aluminum casing. When Steve Jobs first described how it was done, I was a bit surprised because of the waste created from the machining that hss then be recycled. Also very time consuming.

The materials engineers who might be involved in the process may enlighten us, but to my knowledge most stuff can be more easiy and precisely prepared by stamped manufacture, including the tiniest materials used in precision equipment. Even the "liguid metal" materials are likely stamped manufactured.

CGC
post #12 of 53
What waste? Any material left over from the cutting can be reused. Aluminum has a low melting temperature for metal and can fairly easily be melted back into blocks. The reason Apple went to a Unibody design is because Apple can make the aluminum significantly thinner while offering superior stability in terms of reducing chassis flexibility.

When you use the stamp process there are joints where the pieces come together. That is inherently less stable especially the thinner you go. Stamping because of the necessary seams allows the body to flex more, which in turn puts stress on the internal parts. Apple used to use the stamp method, but the chassis had to be thicker to disallow flexibility. Also, there is lots of left over material with the stamp process as well. Maybe more because you have to use thicker material. So any cut outs are going to be larger.

Many people who had the old iBook G4s know about the perils of flexibility in the chassis. The cases flexed to much, causing the logic boards to flex as well. Over a relatively short period of time, the graphic chip became dislodged from the board causing the screen to go black. Apple had to service for free a lot of iBooks. It had to replace the logic board in mine three times over a three year period of time. There are tons of forums complaining of the issue. Apple never publicly acknowledged the underlying cause of the problem other then to extend the warranty period significantly for computers effected with the graphic chip issue. That was what the issue was though. Apple eventually made the plastic Macbooks Unibody as well.

Although those cases were made out of plastic using two pieces of stamped plastic, the same principles apply for the aluminum. Flexing in the chassis is bad. Apple I suspect has learned its lesson about going to thin without preserving stability.



Quote:
Originally Posted by cgc0202 View Post

Another poster mentioned about the manufacture of the unibody aluminum casing. When Steve Jobs first described how it was done, I was a bit surprised because of the waste created from the machining that hss then be recycled. Also very time consuming.

The materials engineers who might be involved in the process may enlighten us, but to my knowledge most stuff can be more easiy and precisely prepared by stamped manufacture, including the tiniest materials used in precision equipment. Even the "liguid metal" materials are likely stamped manufactured.

CGC
post #13 of 53
No need for aluminum for Apple TV as it's not portable. Plastic is probably better because you don't have the issues with WiFi signal getting through the case.

You could argue, of course, that Apple didn't need aluminum in the current Mini. That's true and I'd agree with you. There's a *bit* more reason for it but it could have gone either way. And they did have to do special stuff for the antenna.
post #14 of 53
"Apple's aluminum strategy aids shift to greener products"

Really? IMO Apple's increased use of aluminium results in more silvery-grey products.
post #15 of 53
Recycling itself use energy, manpower and other resources. If I am not mistaken, almost 40% or thereabouts is what they said is machined out -- that is a lot of "materials to be recycled.

Contrary to the impression presented, the clamshell notebook is not really a unibody. The most likely to give way first is the hinges between the body and the cover screen; but Apple solved that, as it has done with the swivel in some models of the iMac.

I am not a mechanical design engineer but you should see how complex some of the designs of some precision instruments used in research and biomedical science -- some of them swivel in all directions. Just imagine if the "Gamma-knife" used by neurosurgeons move just a few millimeters than specified during a brain surgery, and the gamma-rays end up elsewhere or deeper in the brain. The microscope is another example, but go beyond the simple microscoped and think of electron microscopes, scan electron microscoped (SEM) and tunneling electron microscopes (TEM), and other imaging instruments used in research and biomedicine.

There are some parts that require precision machining to finish but the bulk of the components of these fine-precision instruments are stamped manufactured.

Many of these research and biomedicine precision instruments are built on multiple hinges and joints, some of them to be literally have 360-degree motion in the x-y-z planes. The manufacture process of the body of the Macbook and similar unibody products would be piece of cake to do compared to those precision instruments.


When they showed the video of the machining of the "unibody" of the notebook can be machine stamped and smoothened to perfection. One main advantage of such a stamp process is less waste of the fresh aluminun or whatever metal is used. In fact, aluminum should even be easy to stamp processing because of its lower temperature compared to some metals.

And they are meant to last like forever. Not 2-5 years like the consumer computers.

By the way, for stamped materials, they may do some precision machining to deal with the issue that you referred to, but only in those areas, e.g, hinges and joints or to created those side ports and holes or some other cavities that may be difficult to do with dye mold.

Just try to step back a bit, instead of rationalizing Apple's process. A hybrid of the stamp process and machining of those that cannot be stamped would have produced less wasted "fresh aluminum".

Apple is not infallible, if you just try to step back. The issue with the white iPhone, even the Antenna design suggest that not everything is perfect alll the time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

What waste? Any material left over from the cutting can be reused. Aluminum has a low melting temperature for metal and can fairly easily be melted back into blocks. The reason Apple went to a Unibody design is because Apple can make the aluminum significantly thinner while offering superior stability in terms of reducing chassis flexibility.

When you use the stamp process there are joints where the pieces come together. That is inherently less stable especially the thinner you go. Stamping because of the necessary seams allows the body to flex more, which in turn puts stress on the internal parts. Apple used to use the stamp method, but the chassis had to be thicker to disallow flexibility. Also, there is lots of left over material with the stamp process as well. Maybe more because you have to use thicker material. So any cut outs are going to be larger.

Many people who had the old iBook G4s know about the perils of flexibility in the chassis. The cases flexed to much, causing the logic boards to flex as well. Over a relatively short period of time, the graphic chip became dislodged from the board causing the screen to go black. Apple had to service for free a lot of iBooks. It had to replace the logic board in mine three times over a three year period of time. There are tons of forums complaining of the issue. Apple never publicly acknowledged the underlying cause of the problem other then to extend the warranty period significantly for computers effected with the graphic chip issue. That was what the issue was though. Apple eventually made the plastic Macbooks Unibody as well.

Although those cases were made out of plastic using two pieces of stamped plastic, the same principles apply for the aluminum. Flexing in the chassis is bad. Apple I suspect has learned its lesson about going to thin without preserving stability.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

"Apple's aluminum strategy aids shift to greener products"

Really? IMO Apple's increased use of aluminium results in more silvery-grey products.

Just curious, what do you do personally to minimize pollution and energy usage?

For someone who mainly post to denigrate Apple, you spend so much time doing so.

Have you persuaded anyone to come to agree with your perspective?

CGC
post #16 of 53
I think the long lasting battery is a big deal too, not just the aluminum.the less batteries we need to buy and throw away the better.
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post #17 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by phxdoc View Post

Being greener is just a bonus to the fact that it is the best looking, best built laptop ever. The engineering and manufacturing is top notch compared to all the others which seen like they are designed and slapped together just to get them out the door in time.

I agree. There is something totally awesome about holding my MackBook Pro that defies a simple explanation. Even the Apple TV 2's remote is like a work of art. Don't even get me started about my Mac Pro, that beast is gorgeous ... it's a sculpture in Aluminum.
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post #18 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

I think the long lasting battery is a big deal too, not just the aluminum.the less batteries we need to buy and throw away the better.

Many of the calculators before the advent of consumer mobile devices were powered by solar cells. Apple applied for a patent on some design ideas to integrate "solar cells" in the design. There are quite a few basic research trying to find ways to better trap as much of the spectral radiations coming from the sun. There are also some innovative research where the solar energy trapping "molecules" can be made of materials that can be "painted" onto the device.

While such "solar cells" may not be sufficient to supply the energy needs of the mobile product, it helps preventing drainage of the battery.

Another good news is that the technology batteries continue to improve.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

I was surprised that the latest Apple TV has a plastic case. Maybe that's just an interim design, before Apple either goes to an aluminum enclosure or embeds the circuit board into OEM HDTV sets.

So maybe Apple's purchase of Liquid Metal was for developing techniques for "injection molding" aluminum the way Liquid Metal does it with their platinum-based alloy.
.

It is a simple matter of finding the chemical reaction that would allow "solubilizing" the doping metals to render the material amenable to recycling. Although sometimes, such "chemical reactions" leave more pollutant, akin to the problems encountered in gold, copper, nickle, etc., mines where the toxic biochemical waste may just be dumped in the environment.



Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

Why "injection molding" (quoted because the Liquid Metal process is far more advanced than just injection molding)? Because as difficult as the process is to set up, it must take far less time than grinding out all that aluminum from a solid billet. Instead of forming the billet and machining 80% of it out, you could just form the enclosure. Boom.

As noted in my prior posts, creating housing and other industrial components of a product usually integrate the "molding process" and then precision machining using laser guided tools to achieve "zero tolerance" in precision design and manufacture.

CGC
post #19 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post

I love waking up in the morning and feeling the cold metal of my MacBook Pro when I start work.

I agree. I love that cold metal feeling at the start of a new day, the sensation is quite pleasing. And I love reading articles like this, it's give me a good feeling inside.
post #20 of 53
Apple's products are not just more environmentally sustainable than other company's products solely because of the materials that they use.

Apple's products are more environmentally sustainable because of the simple fact that many of them are collectables, so people tend to hang on to them, whereas other generic PC products end up in the trash after a few years, where they rightfully belong may I add. I haven't thrown out a single Apple product that I have ever bought. And if I didn't need one of them anymore, I'd simply sell it, which wouldn't be a difficult task.

Take all of the millions of tablets that companies are going to be releasing because they're all jumping on the iPad tablet wagon. That basically amounts to an environmental catastrophe of enormous proportions, because millions of them will be sitting on the shelves, unsold, and all of that plastic will probably end up in the dumpsters in short time.
post #21 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by phxdoc View Post

Being greener is just a bonus to the fact that it is the best looking, best built laptop ever. The engineering and manufacturing is top notch compared to all the others which seen like they are designed and slapped together just to get them out the door in time.

Looking back, it really is one of those things, where you sit back and wonder how we ever got by with these plastic Mac laptops, even as beautiful as they were, the Mac unibodies are the current pinnacle of "computer" design of the past few decades. For the PowerBook/ MacBook Pros, I never liked anything made after the Titanium PowerBook and before the unibody MBP. The non-unibody Aluminium MBP 15" always felt a bit too "kludgy".

When compared with anything non-Mac though, the difference is just amazing and it's been 3 years and regular laptops still look like cheap plastic crap... Nobody is even close. Ever since my iBook G3 500mhz circa 2001, there's been no reason to even consider a PC laptop, thank goodness.

The iPad... now that is a work of art as well, though in this case it's so minimalist yet so functional, it's in a new class of its own.
post #22 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Apple's products are not just more environmentally sustainable than other company's products solely because of the materials that they use.

Apple's products are more environmentally sustainable because of the simple fact that many of them are collectables, so people tend to hang on to them, whereas other generic PC products end up in the trash after a few years, where they rightfully belong may I add. I haven't thrown out a single Apple product that I have ever bought. And if I didn't need one of them anymore, I'd simply sell it, which wouldn't be a difficult task.

Take all of the millions of tablets that companies are going to be releasing because they're all jumping on the iPad tablet wagon. That basically amounts to an environmental catastrophe of enormous proportions, because millions of them will be sitting on the shelves, unsold, and all of that plastic will probably end up in the dumpsters in short time.

The environmental issue of e-waste is definitely a significant one and I really haven't seen anyone besides Apple step up to the plate and do things right.

All the companies in the world have had a solid decade (2000-2010) to innovate in this area (heck I had a plastic PC laptop back in the mid-90's) and only Apple has made a legitimate attempt.

Now with tablets, as you mention, it's just "let's continue to just keep churning out this plastic garbage... why bother???".

I've made two purchase choices in the past three years to go MacBook 13" Alu Unibody 2ghz and MBP 13" 2010 model, I just find it hard to purchase a plastic laptop... even though for example like you mention my family will probably never throw away our now dead iBook G4 933mhz... I can still probably FW target mode it to clean out the data. (Actually I do need to do that... it died a few months ago).

Apple could go one step further and eliminate the white MacBook and not even have plastic laptops anymore. That would be commendable, but the onus is heavily on the PC commodity-garbage-producers to get *their* act together.
post #23 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by phxdoc View Post

Being greener is just a bonus to the fact that it is the best looking, best built laptop ever. The engineering and manufacturing is top notch compared to all the others which seen like they are designed and slapped together just to get them out the door in time.

Actually I would argue that it isn't 'a bonus' at all. I suspect that Ive and Company looked at both beauty and environment at the same time when they were doing the designs, asking the question "what would be fitting for our design ideals AND environmentally friendly" and picked the whole brick etc because it was the best match.

If something else had been a better match they would have used that

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post #24 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by jb510 View Post

In fact I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of MacBook buyers throw far more aluminium in the non-recyclable trash bin every year than there is in one MacBook...

Even the non-recyclable bin in OC California gets recycled properly. You just can't trust those MacBook Pro users to do the right thing and discard their cans properly. Our city picks up all the trash and then resorts it by hand to separate out all the harmful substances and to reclaim the recyclables mixed in with the garbage.

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post #25 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post

It's highly recyclable, strong, beautiful and lovely to the touch. Why on earth is Apple the only company using it as a primary material in their computer chassis? I wouldn't buy a plastic computer now. I love waking up in the morning and feeling the cold metal of my MacBook Pro when I start work. It's a huge step forward in laptop quality. ...

You've put your finger on one of aluminium's major drawbacks for mobiles though.

Not everyone lives with Steve Jobs in California, and most of the rest of the world is damn cold. Even in the USA there are many places where the weather makes it pretty much impossible to use an iPad outdoors for much of the year.

Also, if we are all being green, we're supposed to turn our heating down at night. In my house, the iPad is too cold to pick up and hold until the heat comes back on in the morning. I know quite a few people, including myself, that prop the iPad up in front of a heat vent each morning for five minutes so it will become warm enough to use.

I'm not saying the problems can't be solved in fact I'd be interested in what Apple is going to do about this sort of thing. Overall however, if the iPad and iPhone and other mobiles are going to be useful devices that replace their analogue contemporaries, they have to find a solution for something like this.

Paper-based books even work in the rain as well as the cold.
post #26 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

... maybe Apple's purchase of Liquid Metal was for developing techniques for "injection molding" aluminum the way Liquid Metal does it with their platinum-based alloy. ...

The smart money is on Apple using it for tiny parts in batteries. At least that's the only patent Apple has published so far that uses liquid metal.

Since their licence means that they have exclusive rights to use if for small electronic devices world-wide, if they can make batteries 20% more efficient that way, then they can effectively lock out all other manufacturers from using the same technology, giving them a permanent world-wide lead in battery life that cannot be (legally) duplicated. If possible, that alone is enough reason to have bought the licence for liquid metal.

Also, you are correct in thinking that liquid metal is not very recyclable, and extremely expensive to manufacture and buy. it currently only makes sense for tiny parts inside of things or very, very small cases.
post #27 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by ihxo View Post

Apple invested a lot in those machines for cutting and crafting those aluminum blocks.

Other companies simply don't want to spend that much on things they can't brag on the spec sheet.

Other companies don't have a Steve Jobs who is fanatical about these things running the show. Seriously.

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post #28 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Also, if we are all being green, we're supposed to turn our heating down at night. In my house, the iPad is too cold to pick up and hold until the heat comes back on in the morning. I know quite a few people, including myself, that prop the iPad up in front of a heat vent each morning for five minutes so it will become warm enough to use. )

Don't most people use a case? Sure the glass is going to be cold but the case is usually not made from a conductive material. That was one question I had about the new magnetic cases. I have not had a chance to go to the Apple store to check them out but I like to have the back protected, not just the front. My iPad 1 with Apple case is perfect in my opinion.

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post #29 of 53
While Aluminum may be more environmentally friendly there are times when other materials are needed to give a product eye appeal. Aluminum creates a boring look and has no personality. A perfect example would be original the Iphone which when we look back at it, cannot even cosmetically come near the 3G 3GS or iphone4. Its always important for manufacturers to realize a product has to create demand visually as well as technologically.
If Apple were to take a poll, I"m sure the majority would vote for a glass back Iphone5 as oppossed to aluminum
post #30 of 53
Yes, Apple does very well on the sustainability front. In all fairness, so do many others in the industry, notably, Dell and HP. (You can easily find the information on their respective websites).
post #31 of 53
If you were referring to my post, I wasn't referring to the clamshell iBook. That was actually quite rugged and it is obvious that wasn't a unibody design because the bottom and top half's were made of entirely different types and colors of plastic. The current plastic Macbook was once referred to as an iBook as well. When Apple changed the body of the iBook more akin to what we see today in the plastic model Macbook the design was not a unibody design. Today's plastic model is a unibody design. You can see the evolution of the iBook here at Wikipedia.


Based on the picture at Wikipedia you can see the different color plastic for the top and bottom half of the revised ibook. I know there was a seam because I have taken mine apart several times to get a better idea of the problem facing the logic board. I experimented with different ways to reattach the graphic chip to the logic board. I tried a clothing iron to the graphic chip. That worked for a bit. Eventually I convinced Apple to take it back and replace the logic board even though the computer was out of its extended warranty.

The problem of the flexing continued through the G4 revision as well. When you take a notebook apart that is not unibody the advantage of a unibody design becomes apparent. With a stamped design you have to make the body thicker to accommodate for the clips and/or screws holding the computer together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cgc0202 View Post

Contrary to the impression presented, the clamshell notebook is not really a unibody. The most likely to give way first is the hinges between the body and the cover screen; but Apple solved that, as it has done with the swivel in some models of the iMac.
post #32 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgc0202 View Post

Just curious, what do you do personally to minimize pollution and energy usage?

For someone who mainly post to denigrate Apple, you spend so much time doing so.

Have you persuaded anyone to come to agree with your perspective?

Feel like bullying someone do you?
post #33 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post

It's highly recyclable, strong, beautiful and lovely to the touch. Why on earth is Apple the only company using it as a primary material in their computer chassis? I wouldn't buy a plastic computer now. I love waking up in the morning and feeling the cold metal of my MacBook Pro when I start work. It's a huge step forward in laptop quality.

The factoid about 75% of all aluminium produced since 1888 still being in use is astonishing.

I am so glad there are other people out there that feel the same way I do about Apple products. I just love the feel of the aluminum case on my MBP, love the steel and glass casing on the iPhone, and my iPad 2 is pretty awesome to mess around with also. There is a reason why you see office buildings being built with steel/aluminum and glass. It's frigging goergous and strong at the core. And yes, I have drank the koolaid. So what.
post #34 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post

It's highly recyclable, strong, beautiful and lovely to the touch. Why on earth is Apple the only company using it as a primary material in their computer chassis? I wouldn't buy a plastic computer now. I love waking up in the morning and feeling the cold metal of my MacBook Pro when I start work. It's a huge step forward in laptop quality.

Besides the lack of longterm leadership and an active decision to invest in such longterm R&D, I don’t think others have the economics of scale to compete with Apple on this scale. Sure, many other vendors sell more PCs than Apple but no one else sells as many units per chassis design at prices that yield a profit that enables this sort of investment.

Quote:
The factoid about 75% of all aluminium produced since 1888 still being in use is astonishing.

That’s an interesting stat. I was also surprised that the new iPad uses more Aluminium than the previous generation despite the size and weight differences.


PS: How much is your old Mac worth?

http://store.apple.com/us/browse/reuse_and_recycle
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #35 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Not everyone lives with Steve Jobs in California, and most of the rest of the world is damn cold.

I used to live not far from Steve, and despite the 300 days of sunshine, in the winter it rains, and rains, and rains. The heating systems tend to be really bad, since they aren't needed too much (air-con isn't really needed much either, which is an interesting point). The point is, waking up on a dismal winter morning in silicon valley, it is likely to be 5-10 C outside and maybe 10-15 C inside, depending on how un-bad your heating is. I think I spend more time being cold during a California winter (or a San Francisco August) than I had during a Chicago winter, one winter when I was there.
Cat: the other white meat
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Cat: the other white meat
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post #36 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgc0202 View Post

The materials engineers who might be involved in the process may enlighten us, but to my knowledge most stuff can be more easiy and precisely prepared by stamped manufacture, including the tiniest materials used in precision equipment. Even the "liguid metal" materials are likely stamped manufactured.

It's not possible to stamp out stiff types of "liquidmetal" and aluminium. The metal is too brittle, and just snaps at the bend.

The aluminium Apple used in the PowerBooks and first Macbooks is only "T0" aircraft grade aluminium. It's very soft, and so it can be bent to a shape easily with a press. The aluminium used in the Unibody Macbooks, Apple displays and iPads is much tougher. It's probably T3 or even T6. If you tried to press T3 or T6 to shape, it would just crack or snap. That's why Apple mills the shape from a block of aluminium. It allows them to use much harder metal, as it doesn't need to be bent.

Plus as another poster said, aluminium melts at only ~660C, which is roughly half the temperature required to melt steel. Glass can be melted and reformed easily too, it's hard plastics that're the main problem. The resultant material created from recycled hard plastics (like ABS) tends to be rather brittle and weak, as it tends to burn rather than melt when being recycled. Softer plastics (such as polyethene) can be recycled more easily. That's why Apple is trying to use less and less plastic in their products.

However, this can be detrimental to the quality of things like cables, as the outer casing is no longer as tough as it used to be. The iPod connector cables appear to be some form of soft plastic with bubbles injected, reducing the plastic used but making it rather weak and prone to splitting in my experience.
post #37 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgc0202 View Post

Have you persuaded anyone to come to agree with your perspective?CGC

I had a comment about ascii's comment, or rather your comment to him but after posting and then going back to read ascii's comments I see that his first seemed to be tongue-in-cheek so have deleted it.

When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

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When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

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post #38 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I agree. There is something totally awesome about holding my MackBook Pro that defies a simple explanation.

I know. When I was a kid, I'd take favoured toys to bed with me. Now I have one or two in vew as I glaze off to dream land.

When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

Reply

When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

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post #39 of 53
Minimizing/eliminating the use of toxic materials from Macs over time is a wonderful focus. It just makes Apple that much more appealing to me than they already were. Apple's big idea seems to be simplification, simplification, simplification. The heart of all great design in my opinion.

I agree with some that aside from the "green" impact that using aircraft-grade aluminum has, it is also an incredibly attractive material. The fact that so much recycled aluminum produced as long ago as 1888 is still in use today hints at how much humanity affects the environment and industrial material usage over time.
post #40 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

You've put your finger on one of aluminium's major drawbacks for mobiles though.

Not everyone lives with Steve Jobs in California, and most of the rest of the world is damn cold. Even in the USA there are many places where the weather makes it pretty much impossible to use an iPad outdoors for much of the year.

Also, if we are all being green, we're supposed to turn our heating down at night. In my house, the iPad is too cold to pick up and hold until the heat comes back on in the morning. I know quite a few people, including myself, that prop the iPad up in front of a heat vent each morning for five minutes so it will become warm enough to use.

I'm not saying the problems can't be solved in fact I'd be interested in what Apple is going to do about this sort of thing. Overall however, if the iPad and iPhone and other mobiles are going to be useful devices that replace their analogue contemporaries, they have to find a solution for something like this.

Paper-based books even work in the rain as well as the cold.

Er... Just use a case? Apple isn't going to have a "warm up for five minutes" feature ---- though there might be apps that do that!

I sympathise though if you don't want the bulk of the case and want to just enjoy the pure aluminium goodness without freezing your fingers.
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