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Rumor: Apple ordering parts for new product made of carbon fiber

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 
Apple is said to have ordered a large number of parts made of carbon fiber, hinting that a new product may be made of the durable-yet-lightweight material.

The rumored details come from an anonymous source who spoke with Japanese blog Macotakara. In a report published on Wednesday, author "danbo" said that Apple has requested the carbon fiber samples from a Japanese company which began production with the material in mid-March.

Information on what Apple apparently ordered is unknown, but the source reportedly said that the number of parts ordered by Apple are too great to be called simply a "sample."

Patent 1


Apple's interest in carbon fiber has been previously detailed in a number of patent filings by the company. One such filing related to carbon fiber MacBook housings, was made public earlier this month.

The application for an invention entitled "Carbon Composite Mold Design" describes how Apple might manufacture "aesthetically pleasing" parts from carbon fiber and other resin-based composites.

Another filing made in 2010 and detailed by AppleInsider described how carbon fiber might help make Apple's iPad lighter and stronger. Illustrations accompanying the patent application showed a rear shell similar to Apple's iPad made of carbon fiber.

The back of the current iPad is made from a single billet of aluminum, which increases the weight but also greatly improves the rigidity of the device.

Apple's new iPhone 5 is 20 percent lighter than its predecessor thanks in part to a change to a metal back. The previous iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 had glass backs that added to the weight of those devices.
post #2 of 66
iPad Mini production underway?
post #3 of 66

Clearly THIS must be that Apple TV. /s

I'm not a pessimist. I'm an optimist, with experience.
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I'm not a pessimist. I'm an optimist, with experience.
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post #4 of 66
surely it's the grills or the rear quarter panels of the new apple car ...
post #5 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

Clearly THIS must be that Apple TV. /s

Apple TV already exists.
Surely you mean the iPhone 7, I mean 6. :-/
post #6 of 66

Question, how will a carbon fiber iPad/iPhone/iPod case feel??  Or even a Macbook?

 

I quite like the aluminum shells, it feels quality.  I really hope Apple doesn't do this, it'll feel like an Android phone.

post #7 of 66
iPad mini FTW!

This will also give everyone an entirely new material to complain about. It won't shatter or scuff but I'm sure there is something in there we can complain about.
post #8 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

iPad mini FTW!
This will also give everyone an entirely new material to complain about. It won't shatter or scuff but I'm sure there is something in there we can complain about.

 

 

See my comment above yours LMAO. 

post #9 of 66
iMac mini?

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #10 of 66
Given that everybody expects the iPad 'mini' to compete on price with some of the other 7" devices on the market, carbon fiber would be an odd choice.

A 15" MacBook Air though...
post #11 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by allenbf View Post

Question, how will a carbon fiber iPad/iPhone/iPod case feel??  Or even a Macbook?

I quite like the aluminum shells, it feels quality.  I really hope Apple doesn't do this, it'll feel like an Android phone.

It feels very nice/high-quality and far less slippery than Aluminum (see both my iPhone 5 and MacBook Pro pictured in Caron Fiber).

I've been working with Carbon Fiber for well over 25 years and find it to be an excellent choice both structurally and aesthetically.

Once I noticed the surface 'defects' on my iPhone 5, the first thing I did was take some pre-preg carbon fiber material and covered the entire device.

http://imageshack.us/a/img155/3068/p1000626.JPG

Note: though I seriously doubt that Apple wpould go the with 'exposed fiber' look on production items.

"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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post #12 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

iPad mini FTW!
This will also give everyone an entirely new material to complain about. It won't shatter or scuff but I'm sure there is something in there we can complain about.

 



If you go at it with a hacksaw it will shatter, and chips of carbon fiber could end up in your eye and make you blind!! lol.gif

post #13 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by allenbf View Post

Question, how will a carbon fiber iPad/iPhone/iPod case feel??  Or even a Macbook?

I quite like the aluminum shells, it feels quality.  I really hope Apple doesn't do this, it'll feel like an Android phone.

For the same thickness, it won't be as rigid.
post #14 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by allenbf View Post

Question, how will a carbon fiber iPad/iPhone/iPod case feel??  Or even a Macbook?

I quite like the aluminum shells, it feels quality.  I really hope Apple doesn't do this, it'll feel like an Android phone.

Less rigid, unless Apple makes the products thicker, with more curve in the shells.
post #15 of 66
The new comment system sucks.
post #16 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

iPad mini FTW!
This will also give everyone an entirely new material to complain about. It won't shatter or scuff but I'm sure there is something in there we can complain about.

It's as easy to scratch as any other plastic of the same characteristics. That because there is no such thing as carbon fiber panels. It's a composite of carbon fiber and either epoxy or polyester..
post #17 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

It feels very nice/high-quality and far less slippery than Aluminum (see both my iPhone 5 and MacBook Pro pictured in Caron Fiber).
I've been working with Carbon Fiber for well over 25 years and find it to be an excellent choice both structurally and aesthetically.
Once I noticed the surface 'defects' on my iPhone 5, the first thing I did was take some pre-preg carbon fiber material and covered the entire device.
http://imageshack.us/a/img155/3068/p1000626.JPG
Note: though I seriously doubt that Apple wpould go the with 'exposed fiber' look on production items.

It can be pretty rigid as a small case. But when it becomes larger, that rigidity is lessened. High quality carbon fiber cloth is expensive. And then what is the binder? Apple's patents are interesting, but the material ends up being complex. Will this cost more or less than a machined aluminum billet? That's also something we won't know.
post #18 of 66
Why the heck did they buy the "Liqui-Metal" company if they aren't going to make an entire phone out of it? Carbon fiber would be ok but really??
post #19 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post


It's as easy to scratch as any other plastic of the same characteristics. That because there is no such thing as carbon fiber panels. It's a composite of carbon fiber and either epoxy or polyester..

 

Right. Forgot.  So ... same old complaints instead of new ones? 

post #20 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post


It feels very nice/high-quality and far less slippery than Aluminum (see both my iPhone 5 and MacBook Pro pictured in Caron Fiber).
I've been working with Carbon Fiber for well over 25 years and find it to be an excellent choice both structurally and aesthetically.
Once I noticed the surface 'defects' on my iPhone 5, the first thing I did was take some pre-preg carbon fiber material and covered the entire device.
http://imageshack.us/a/img155/3068/p1000626.JPG
Note: though I seriously doubt that Apple wpould go the with 'exposed fiber' look on production items.

Interesting.

 

That looks pretty sweet, I just kinda prefer the heft of the aluminum, I guess.  It sets Apple apart on quality, just my opinion/preference.  Time will tell

post #21 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by iSheldon View Post

 
Apple TV already exists.
Surely you mean the iPhone 7, I mean 6. :-/

 

Surely he means a full Television set built by and sold by Apple - not the AppleTV device that is already available.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post


It feels very nice/high-quality and far less slippery than Aluminum (see both my iPhone 5 and MacBook Pro pictured in Caron Fiber).
I've been working with Carbon Fiber for well over 25 years and find it to be an excellent choice both structurally and aesthetically.
Once I noticed the surface 'defects' on my iPhone 5, the first thing I did was take some pre-preg carbon fiber material and covered the entire device.
http://imageshack.us/a/img155/3068/p1000626.JPG
Note: though I seriously doubt that Apple wpould go the with 'exposed fiber' look on production items.

 

I had the impression that it would be more of an injection molding process - which is how you get the strength of carbon fibre without the cost of laying the fibers in specific patterns, which is where most of the cost of carbon fibre is today - not the raw materials - but the process by which oriented fibers are laid onto molds, by hand, in order to have the desired fiber orientation to achieve the desired results. A relatively new process use a process that is more like fiberglass in that the fibers are not pre-made in a given orientation (or multiple overlapping orientation) but are applied is what is essentially a random pattern and then the resin bonds them all together like so http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=42957 or perhaps oriented strand board or other manufactured wood products are a better comparison - either way - you do not end up with the traditional appearance associated with carbon fiber - meaning that you would very likely have to coat the finished product or incorporate color into the resin as I doubt Apple would release products with a finish that looks like this:

 

which actually uses a forged composite process - or perhaps Apple has developed yet another process - but the point is that to my knowledge no one has figured out how to mass produce parts using the traditional carbon fiber process. 

 

 
post #22 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

Given that everybody expects the iPad 'mini' to compete on price with some of the other 7" devices on the market, carbon fiber would be an odd choice.
A 15" MacBook Air though...

 

I'm really interested in the iPad mini form factor and will get one regardless but I'm actually hoping it's plain old plastic (which would be cheap).  

 

I understand the love of aluminium and so forth and rigidity is important, but for a product you walk around holding in one hand all day I think aluminium is just a silly choice.  Everyone always accuses Apple of following "form over function" and it's generally a silly argument made by people who know nothing about design, but IMO the use of aluminium as a housing for a tablet at least approaches being exactly that.  

 

Maybe I'm biased from using the iPad 3 all day and every day (which feels like a boat anchor and so sharp that it digs into your hands), but I am totally ready for a new, lighter, plastic-related housing.  

 

The Nexus looks really slick for example (until you turn it on anyway), and feels both rigid and good in the hands.

post #23 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

I had the impression that it would be more of an injection molding process - which is how you get the strength of carbon fibre without the cost of laying the fibers in specific patterns, which is where most of the cost of carbon fibre is today - not the raw materials - but the process by which oriented fibers are laid onto molds, by hand, in order to have the desired fiber orientation to achieve the desired results. A relatively new process use a process that is more like fiberglass in that the fibers are not pre-made in a given orientation (or multiple overlapping orientation) but are applied is what is essentially a random pattern and then the resin bonds them all together like so http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=42957 or perhaps oriented strand board or other manufactured wood products are a better comparison - either way - you do not end up with the traditional appearance associated with carbon fiber - meaning that you would very likely have to coat the finished product or incorporate color into the resin as I doubt Apple would release products with a finish that looks like this: ...

 

 

I don't have the links, but Apple has been investigating exactly what you are talking about for years and has very several interesting patents to do with new ways to align the fibres and treat the surfaces.  They sound really new and futuristic on paper.  I'd like to see them make something out of CF just to get a look at their new surface treatments. 

post #24 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post


...but the point is that to my knowledge no one has figured out how to mass produce parts using the traditional carbon fiber process. 



 

They'll likely use a 'chopped fiber' technique, which can effectively be done via 'injection molding' depending on the size if the fibers and the consistency of the resins used.

We'll See...
"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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post #25 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

Clearly THIS must be that Apple TV. /s

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pooch View Post

surely it's the grills or the rear quarter panels of the new apple car ...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iSheldon View Post

 
Apple TV already exists.
Surely you mean the iPhone 7, I mean 6. :-/

 

You're all wrong. The order is for a new sim ejector tool.

post #26 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnielse View Post

iPad Mini production underway?

Nope it's for the iPhone 5. Haven't you heard that they stopped production and are recalling all sold units due to that major design issue.

You should have your replacement in about a year.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #27 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

iPad mini FTW!
This will also give everyone an entirely new material to complain about. It won't shatter or scuff but I'm sure there is something in there we can complain about.


FYI - carbon fiber does scuff

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by d-range View Post

 



If you go at it with a hacksaw it will shatter, and chips of carbon fiber could end up in your eye and make you blind!! lol.gif

 

It fractures rather than shatters.

post #28 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Once I noticed the surface 'defects' on my iPhone 5, the first thing I did was take some pre-preg carbon fiber material and covered the entire device.

Hmm, looks like carbon fiber pattern vinyl (3M Di-noc) to me. Too thin to be actual CF.

post #29 of 66
Here's what seems to have not been posted previously due to some glitch.
 
Most likely this is for at least part of their MacBook line, with the key question whether they'll add it first to the high-end MacBook Pros, where the most profits are, or to the MacBook Airs, where light weight is a prime selling point.
 
I've never been a fan of aluminum cases since they muck up WiFi coverage. I also live with a tight writer's budget, so upgrading my perfectly functional white MacBook (with an SSD) hasn't been a priority. But next year's MacBook Air could create a 'perfect storm' of newness that could get my attention. Those might include:
 
  • Intel's new energy sipping Haswell chips. There, the speed improvements matter less than getting the battery life of MBAs into the double digits like my iPad. There's a reassurance to knowing that, no matter what you do, you're not going to exhaust the battery in a single day's work. Since you can almost always recharge over night, that gives the equivalent of an infinite battery life.
  • WiFi ac. Given how much I use WiFi, going from a WiFi n laptop to a WiFi n laptop isn't an upgrade. It's always bad to get the model just before the model that has the major improvements. WiFi ac is a big step forward.
  • Lightning connector? Apple's new adaptive Lightning connector seems so clever, I wonder if it will migrate to their laptops. Sharing a common, better-than-USB connector would be great for music and medical instrumentation. One gadget could work with both. There might even be advantages for iPhones with a Lightning-to-Lightning cable to Macs (faster synching). And with that addition, Apple could finally Deep Six the Firewire connector.
  • Better Ethernet connector? WiFi isn't always the answer. Lots of work environments (law, medicine and finance) can't use WiFi for security or people-density reasons. The current RJ45 connector must be at 30 years old. It was designed for an era when IT staff connected desktops to a network and was deliberately intended to be a pain for non-IT staff to disconnect. The entire computing world needs something smaller and easier to use--perhaps even something that disconnects quickly like MagSafe.
  • EL model? This is less likely, given Apple obsession with simple product lines, but not impossible. For much of its product line, Apple should look into having EL models that are a bit thicker (no other difference), but use that added 1/4 to 1/2-inch to double battery life. I'm not planning to use a MBA to cut bread, so excessive thinness is of no value, particularly since the case I'll carry it about it has enough padding that there's no gain in compactness.
 
 
Will all of most of this happen? I don't know. I do think that Apple needs to do something to add as much glitz and glamour to its Mac line as its mobile devices now enjoy. The list above would do just that.
post #30 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Right. Forgot.  So ... same old complaints instead of new ones? 

I think it's the visibility of scratches rather than the scratches themselves that's the problem.

With the new phones, we see that the black model has the most problems. That's because with the clear model, the scratch is the same color as the base aluminum alloy underneath, whereas with the black one, a scratch is stark.

With a plastic case, the scratch isn't as obvious if the color isn't just a paint job on top.
post #31 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

Hmm, looks like carbon fiber pattern vinyl (3M Di-noc) to me. Too thin to be actual CF.


He's done a nice job there and you haven't a clue what you are talking about.  A single layer of cloth formed with pressure can be paper thin.

post #32 of 66

Consider the Tour de France

First bikes were steel, then titanium, then aluminum - Not they're all carbon fiber.   - A carbon fiber iPhone will look great mounted on my Colnago!

post #33 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Nope it's for the iPhone 5. Haven't you heard that they stopped production and are recalling all sold units due to that major design issue.
You should have your replacement in about a year.

You forgot to include the URL:
http://scoopertino.com/apple-cancels-iphone-5-orders-rethinks-new-connector/
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post #34 of 66
Instead of carbon fiber, I think Apple maybe finally going to use Liquid Metal.
post #35 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shidell View Post

The new comment system sucks.

This forum sucks when reading it on an iPhone. It's too tiny to read, even when in landscape mode. You'd think they would make it apple friendly seeing as this is all about apple lol
post #36 of 66

I'd like a retractable, carbon fiber stick to be built into my next iPad. Whenever necessary, I could take it out and hit Fandroids upside the head with it. It could also be used to fend off robbers on the subway who have a hard on for Apple devices nowadays.

post #37 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by macdocdave View Post

Instead of carbon fiber, I think Apple maybe finally going to use Liquid Metal.

 

I hope not, it's currently ridiculously expensive.  Even if they've found a way to scale the manufacturing, the cost would likely still be a problem.  Pure silver or gold would actually be cheaper right now from what I've read.  


Edited by Gazoobee - 9/26/12 at 10:17am
post #38 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by go4d1 View Post

First bikes were steel, then titanium, then aluminum - Not they're all carbon fiber.   - A carbon fiber iPhone will look great mounted on my Colnago!

 

You came really close to getting it right.     The carbon fiber is for the Apple iBike.   Among the many features the iBike will have are special grips on the handlebars so that you can't hold them wrong.    But you can only ride for four hours at a time and if you upgrade it, every once in a while the wheels will lock and even when they don't, you'll suddenly only be able to ride for about an hour at a time.   It will also have a mode where the iBike will take you to places that aren't there.    

post #39 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by macdocdave View Post

Instead of carbon fiber, I think Apple maybe finally going to use Liquid Metal.

The phone would be the best device for that expensive alloy. But if Apple sticks to its convention of keeping the same case for two years, the earliest we could see one is two phones down the line.
post #40 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

Hmm, looks like carbon fiber pattern vinyl (3M Di-noc) to me. Too thin to be actual CF.


Too thin? You do not know carbon fiber.

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