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Apple looks towards structural bonding for thinner, lighter notebooks

post #1 of 47
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In keeping up with the trend towards thinner and lighter notebook models, Apple in a recent filing discloses methods for improving enclosure designs through parts that are structurally and electrically bonded together during the manufacturing process.

The technique, notes the Mac maker in a December 2006 continuation patent filing, offers an alternative approach to most existing notebook enclosures, which tend to be bogged down by weighty mechanical assemblies having parts that are screwed, riveted, snapped or otherwise fastened together at discrete points.

Lighter enclosures that use thinner plastic structures and less fasteners also exist, according to Apple, but they tend to be more flexible and therefore they have a greater propensity to buckle and bow than those having thicker, heavy mechanical assemblies.

"Unfortunately, increased weight may lead to user dissatisfaction, and bowing may damage the internal parts of the portable computer," the company wrote in the filing.

Apple also notes that as the power and sophistication of integrated notebook circuits have increased, so has the level of electromagnetic interference. In order to prevent interference, PC manufacturers often shielded enclosures with an electrically conductive material to block the emission of electromagnetic radiation, which also leads to more weighty and bulky designs.

"Although current enclosure designs work well," said Apple, "in many instances it would be desirable to provide enclosures that are thinner, lighter, stronger and aesthetically more pleasing than current enclosure designs."

Specifically, the Cupertino-based firm's patent proposal covers an enclosure having at least two unique parts that are structurally bonded together to form a singular composite structure with structural glue, or an enclosure having at least two unique parts that are electrically bonded together to form a singular integrated conductive member.

The methods are particularly useful in the notebook space, according to the company, because it will allow manufacturers to build tiny enclosures around a tightly knit set of internal components, instead of having to maneuver those parts into pre-formed casings or use heavy fasteners to accomplish the same task.



For example, the filing calls for the use of a compliant structural adhesive (glue) that is compliant when dispensed and then cures to a rigid structure over time. The glue would transform between a liquid state, exhibiting its compliant attributes, and a solid state, exhibiting its structural attributes.

"In the liquid state, the glue exhibits a readiness to flow and a relatively high incompressibility that allows it to fill the gap (whether small or large)," the filing states. "In the solid state, the glue exhibits rigidity and a relatively high resistance to movement that allows it to maintain the width of gap chosen during the liquid state, and to form a singular composite structure."

By way of example, Apple said the glue may be applied between a notebook's top frame and the top plate in bead form (liquid state), and after a set time, the glue may harden thus forming a rigid structure that attaches the top frame to the top plate (solid state).

"Generally speaking, the adhesive offers a dynamic way to place multiple parts in desired positions relative to one another and a static way to fix the multiple parts together," the company explained. "In one implementation, the glue is a two-part catalytic epoxy that forms a strong structural bond between the plastic top frame and the metal top plate [and can be] used to structurally attach the carbon fiber top frame to the titanium top plate."



In another aspect of the invention, the conductive bridge is electrically bonded to a portion of the conductive layer and to a portion of the top plate. The binding nature of the conductive bridge would be arranged to form a singular electrical structure, including the conductive layer and the top plate, for shielding the top case from electronic emissions.

In most cases, Apple said the conductive bridge would be arranged to seal a gap formed between the recessed portion of the top plate and the conductive layer of the top frame. The conductive bridge could be formed from a conductive paste that exhibits good electrical characteristics and good adhesion between the conductive layer and the top plate.



"In one embodiment, the conductive paste is a metal filled electrically conductive ink that forms a strong electrical bond between the plated top frame and the metal top plate. In general, the electrically conductive ink is a solvent-based material that includes a metal filler and a carrier medium for carrying the metal filler. In most cases, the carrier medium is acetate," according to the filing. "During several experiments, it was found that a nickel filled electrically conductive ink formed an exceptionally strong electrically bond between the Nickel-Copper plated conductive layer and the titanium top plate."

The continued work by Apple on the patent proposal, titled simply "Computer enclosure," comes amid reports that the company plans to introduce later this year its thinnest and lightest Intel-based notebook yet (see Apple to re-enter sub-notebook market).

The filing is credited to Michael Kriege, Dan Hong, John DiFonzo, Stephen Zadesky, David Lynch, David Lundgren, and Nick Merz.
post #2 of 47
David Lynch works for Apple?
post #3 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

less fasteners

Should be "fewer fasteners"

Otherwise, nice to read that Apple is continuing to research into how to make their laptops even lighter without sacrificing rigidity.
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post #4 of 47
This sounds like it would make it even harder to get into their laptops and replace components...
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post #5 of 47
So now you can patent using glue to stick two objects together?

The Patent Game reaches a new, even sillier realm...
post #6 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post

This sounds like it would make it even harder to get into their laptops and replace components...

That is what I was thinking.
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post #7 of 47
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Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

That is what I was thinking.

Ditto
post #8 of 47
I'll ditto that ditto.
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post #9 of 47
it'll be interesting to see if they can beat the x505 weight/size wise, i believe apple poached some vaio guys last year or so.

the description is a bit like bonding together a lotus elise chassis.
post #10 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charko View Post

I'll ditto that ditto.

Tritto.
post #11 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by lanky_nathan View Post

Tritto.

Quato?

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post #12 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyIslander View Post

So now you can patent using glue to stick two objects together?

The Patent Game reaches a new, even sillier realm...

They are treating the glue as a structural component (it could possibly be an injection-molded glue, for example) and as a conductive element... to eliminate wires and decrease product thickness. It all sounds promising to me.

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post #13 of 47
Anyone else notice where the finger sensor is....and the lack of keyboard

Looks like this laptop may be based on another patent they filed awhile ago...
post #14 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feynman View Post

Anyone else notice where the finger sensor is....and the lack of keyboard

Huh? The first pic clearly shows a place for a trackpad and keyboard.
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post #15 of 47
Uh... if you glue the case together, how do you take it apart to replace components?
post #16 of 47
If taken to the extreme ...... This sounds like the machines may not be expandable and not repairable without buying a new case. Possibly disk drive and memory, all else built into the motherboard or the case (antennas and screen for example).

Very interesting. Maybe we can take an old machine and dip it into epoxy, LOL.

Seriously, does sound very interesting including the metal ink (I guess instead of wires).

Not sure about you, but I would think this is innovation and not evolution.

Good choice to use on ultra portable or even better THE TABLET.
post #17 of 47
Quintto
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post #18 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by alansky View Post

Uh... if you glue the case together, how do you take it apart to replace components?

Either you don't take it apart, or you have access panels, no doubt. They would not design in 'no access' unless there shouldn't be access.

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post #19 of 47
This reminds me of something I did in the 4th Grade with some Legos. I built a small tower where every single piece was connected to at least 2 pieces below it, it was sturdy as hell and would obliterate any other lego toys that crashed into it.

It was a fun little toy but someone eventually punched a hole in it, surprisingly most of the structure stayed intact. If Apple were to make something like that on a molecular level, it would be unbelievably strong.

Sebastian
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post #20 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by EagerDragon View Post

If taken to the extreme ...... This sounds like the machines may not be expandable and not repairable without buying a new case. Possibly disk drive and memory, all else built into the motherboard or the case (antennas and screen for example).

Very interesting. Maybe we can take an old machine and dip it into epoxy, LOL.

Seriously, does sound very interesting including the metal ink (I guess instead of wires).

Not sure about you, but I would think this is innovation and not evolution.

Good choice to use on ultra portable or even better THE TABLET.

Yes, the metal ink reminds me of recent advances in 'printing houses' and other techniques (of which, I regrettably have no links to offer) and when creating circuits with common ink-jet style technology.

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post #21 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feynman View Post

Anyone else notice where the finger sensor is....and the lack of keyboard

Looks like this laptop may be based on another patent they filed awhile ago...

Not really, they have an iPod Shuffle first Gen Patent without any buttons on it, just the circles.

Sebastian
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post #22 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slewis View Post

This reminds me of something I did in the 4th Grade with some Legos. I built a small tower where every single piece was connected to at least 2 pieces below it, it was sturdy as hell and would obliterate any other lego toys that crashed into it.

It was a fun little toy but someone eventually punched a hole in it, surprisingly most of the structure stayed intact. If Apple were to make something like that on a molecular level, it would be unbelievably strong.

Sebastian

post #23 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Yes, the metal ink reminds me of recent advances in 'printing houses' and other techniques (of which, I regrettably have no links to offer) and when creating circuits with common ink-jet style technology.

Yea sounds real cool.
There been also some where they use a printer to print a LCD screen using some organic materials, not sure but I think is called OLED?????

Basically only replacesable is disk and memory all else you buy a new case/motherboard/screen combo.
post #24 of 47
Why is Apple having such a problem when Sony has created marvelous machines with the TX and SZ series? They are lighter the MacBooks/Pros, and they include CD/DVD writer/player. The only Windows machine I own is the TX, and it pains me that Apple can't build one with OS X. Comeon Steve, get it together.
post #25 of 47
Guys (and gals)

If anyone has owned a Titanium PowerBook, you would recognize the pics. This looks like an old patent. The pics show, in detail, the assembly process for the Titanium series

I honestly see this as an old patent first granted now.

edit: Oh ya, they even mention titanium!
post #26 of 47
I don't see anything different from what I've been doing for some while.

Even the conductive adhesive isn't really new. Many metal bonding adhesives are conductive, though not necessarily to that extent. But you can mix a bit of copper powder into it, as I have, and get pretty good conductivity.

By the way, for those who think these cases will result in non-repairable, or expandable machines, don't worry.

The cases can still be made with a top and a bottom.

I suppose this is another thing I should have tried to patent. Oh well!
post #27 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by georgep View Post

Why is Apple having such a problem when Sony has created marvelous machines with the TX and SZ series? They are lighter the MacBooks/Pros, and they include CD/DVD writer/player. The only Windows machine I own is the TX, and it pains me that Apple can't build one with OS X. Comeon Steve, get it together.

The fact there isn't a lighter MacBook doesn't mean Apple can't make one. If you look a the specs for the SZ serieswhich has a 13" screenyou'll see that the MacBook has a much faster processor, as well as other parts that are faster, despite the Vaio costing significantly more the the MacBook. I guess Apple hasn't seen a need to release these yet. I would buy one, as I like my portables to be as portable as possible, but I wonder how many people will spend the extra money for a slower machine?
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post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I wonder how many people will spend the extra money for a slower machine?

The same ones that just can' t get their facts straight before opening their mouths and shoving their foot in. Wish you would have waited a day or so.
post #29 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Either you don't take it apart, or you have access panels, no doubt. They would not design in 'no access' unless there shouldn't be access.

One day no doubt, we will just send it back, get a spanking new replacement (case and all), hook it up to our Time Machine drive and voila.

Think about the environment. No need to create a solvent to disolve the old glue. Maybe saving another horse or two.
post #30 of 47
Um... Carbon fibre and titanium... So they're going to say aluminum bye bye?
post #31 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slewis View Post

This reminds me of something I did in the 4th Grade with some Legos. I built a small tower where every single piece was connected to at least 2 pieces below it, it was sturdy as hell and would obliterate any other lego toys that crashed into it.

It was a fun little toy but someone eventually punched a hole in it, surprisingly most of the structure stayed intact. If Apple were to make something like that on a molecular level, it would be unbelievably strong.

I think material would be called plastic, because that's what it is and how it works. I am not kidding.
post #32 of 47
I'll sextto that quintto!
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post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

The same ones that just can' t get their facts straight before opening their mouths and shoving their foot in. Wish you would have waited a day or so.

Huh?
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post #34 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Huh?

Sorry Solipsism for the confusion.

I was just agreeing to your counter to Geogep when you stated, "If you look a the specs for the SZ series—which has a 13" screen—you'll see that the MacBook has a much faster processor, as well as other parts that are faster, despite the Vaio costing significantly more the the MacBook."

and to your question, "I wonder how many people will spend the extra money for a slower machine?", I was wishing 'you would have waited a day or so' to let guys like Georgep, who seem to like critizing Apple without doing some due diligence, go ahead and make such a ridiculous purchase.
post #35 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

Sorry Solipsism for the confusion.

I was just agreeing to your counter to Geogep when you stated, "If you look a the specs for the SZ serieswhich has a 13" screenyou'll see that the MacBook has a much faster processor, as well as other parts that are faster, despite the Vaio costing significantly more the the MacBook."

and to your question, "I wonder how many people will spend the extra money for a slower machine?", I was wishing 'you would have waited a day or so' to let guys like Georgep, who seem to like critizing Apple without doing some due diligence, go ahead and make such a ridiculous purchase.

Gotcha. Thanks for the clarification.
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post #36 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The fact there isn't a lighter MacBook doesn't mean Apple can't make one. If you look a the specs for the SZ serieswhich has a 13" screenyou'll see that the MacBook has a much faster processor, as well as other parts that are faster, despite the Vaio costing significantly more the the MacBook. I guess Apple hasn't seen a need to release these yet. I would buy one, as I like my portables to be as portable as possible, but I wonder how many people will spend the extra money for a slower machine?

They aren't even the same class of machines.

With a MacBook, you are lucky to ever get four hours of battery life, TX can get four to ten hours, in a machine that's half the weight.
post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Either you don't take it apart, or you have access panels, no doubt. They would not design in 'no access' unless there shouldn't be access.

No access for customers would also mean no access or really shitty access for technicians, just like the iMac and Mac Mini. Apple should force their hardware designers to work in the repair shops on a regular basis, so they can see what it's like having to actually support what they create, instead of just dumping the repairs on someone else.
post #38 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I think material would be called plastic, because that's what it is and how it works. I am not kidding.

Bleh, I'm not referring to the material the Legos are made out of, I'm referring to a structure created with those Legos.

Sebastian
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post #39 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

They aren't even the same class of machines.

With a MacBook, you are lucky to ever get four hours of battery life, TX can get four to ten hours, in a machine that's half the weight.

Actually he mentioned the SZ series when he was comparing specs, not the TX. The TX is obviously less powerful than the Macbook but like you say it has vastly better battery life because it's an ultra portable.

However he was wrong to say that the SZ is lower specs than the Macbook. Sure it costs more but it is definately the higher speced laptop. On the high end SZ models you get a carbon fibre frame to make it lighter, they already use LED backlighting. They have intergrated graphics and a Geforce dedicated graphics which you can switch between, fingerprint reader, etc. Obviously Macbook Pros have faster graphics, etc but the SZ is a 13 inch laptop like the Macbook. Still they target different market segments. The Macbook is aimmed at the lower end of the market while the SZ is the top end of the market for slim laptops because as far as I know, no other ultra portable packs in quite as much as the SZ so it's top of it's game.
post #40 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slewis View Post

Bleh, I'm not referring to the material the Legos are made out of, I'm referring to a structure created with those Legos.

No, I am serious. At the molecular level, plastics behave a lot like that.
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