or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Future Apple Hardware › Apple may turn to carbon fiber for lighter MacBook Air
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple may turn to carbon fiber for lighter MacBook Air

post #1 of 155
Thread Starter 
Apple enthusiastically claimed ownership to the world's thinnest notebook earlier this year with the introduction of the MacBook Air, but is rumored to be unsatisfied with the system's weight, which it now hopes to drop below 3 pounds.

As such, people who've proven familiar with the company's portable plans say the Mac maker has been looking into substituting carbon fiber parts for certain structural components currently cast from heavier aircraft-grade aluminum.

Carbon fiber is an extremely lightweight material comprised of very thin fibers about 0.0050.010 millimeters in diameter and composed mostly of carbon atoms. The atoms bond together in microscopic crystals that are aligned parallel to the long axis of the fiber and can thus be used to form exceptionally strong composites without requiring more material.

The high strength-to-weight ratio of carbon fiber has made it a popular choice for the aerospace, sporting, and racing industries, where it's used for aircraft parts, bicycle frames, and performance car bodies. More recently, however, its application has spilled into the computing industry, with vendors such as Sony and HP's Voodoo PC brand all using it to construct lightweight notebook enclosures.

For its part, Apple is reportedly looking to adopt the material for only a portion of Air's enclosure. The Cupertino-based firm is extremely proud of the notebook's precision unibody upper chassis, which it mills from a single extruded block of aluminum. While no changes have been proposed for this component, those familiar with ongoing R&D efforts say the company is hoping to replacing the Air's lower aluminum case, or bottom cover, with one constructed from carbon fiber.

The move would reportedly raise production costs but shave upwards of a 100 grams off the notebook, dropping its weight from a hair over 3 pounds (or 1363 grams) to 2.78 pounds (or 1263 grams). A pre-production unit showcasing the new part was said to look identical to the existing Air with the exception of the carbon fiber bottom, which appeared in the material's native black.

In our attempts to provide some color on the weight-related claims, we contacted the tear-down experts at iFixit for a breakdown of the Air's weight distribution. Indeed, it turns out that the notebook's bottom cover is the second heaviest structural component outside the unibody chassis (260 grams), weighing in at 152 grams. The rear bezel, or top cover with the Apple logo, weighs 211 grams.

A breakdown of the Air's weight provided by iFixit.

More than 35 percent of the Air's weight comes from the combination of its 287 gram battery and 210 gram LCD panel. The logic board, hard disk drive, and hard drive mounting brackets comprise another 10 percent of the unit's weight.

Asked about the rumored materials swap, iFixit chief executive Kyle Wiens said he wouldn't put it past the Mac maker, which is constantly pushing the manufacturing envelope, to make such a change.

"[Apple industrial design chief Jonathan] Ive's vaunted 'torsional rigidity' is a huge reason for the Air's success," he said. "The current machines feel extremely solid. Apple wouldn't want to sacrifice that at all, hence the willingness to spend more on carbon fiber."

The Air's bottom cover is one of the notebook's most simple components | Source: iFixit's MacBook Air Take Apart Guide

Although AppleInsider publishes the aforementioned information strictly as a rumor, it's believed the shift to a carbon fiber bottom is far enough along in its development cycle that it could appear in a revision to the MacBook Air sometime next year.
post #2 of 155
This redesign would explain why the Air did not get many of the same tweaks as the MB and MBP (such as the new trackpad).
post #3 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlake View Post

This redesign would explain why the Air did not get many of the same tweaks as the MB and MBP (such as the new trackpad).

Very likely. The earliest we would see a redesign would be at Macworld 2009 in January. I think we'll see a complete refresh of the desktop line - iMac, Mac Pro, and perhaps the Mac mini at the event. If Apple could roll out an Air redesign that would be a way to make it into a true Mac event. The past two Macworld events (2008 & 2007) were essentially iPhone events, I don't think Apple has enough to do it three years in a row.
post #4 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlake View Post

This redesign would explain why the Air did not get many of the same tweaks as the MB and MBP (such as the new trackpad).

Certainly would, I wonder if the new one would possibly get these?

_____________
iPhone, iPod
Reply
iPhone, iPod
Reply
post #5 of 155
CF is used extensively in the pro cycling industry, with frames and most of the structural parts of these high performance frames built out of the stuff. I think there are places on high performance cars that use CF as well. It would not be unreasonable to create the entire LCD panel rear out of CF, though that may give them a design headache figuring out how to get the aesthetics down.
post #6 of 155
We need a machine that has a 10, 12, or even 13" screen and a full size keyboard. Where Apple totally blew it with all their recent portable releases is not catering for the credit crunch, the mobile professional and those who don't need video gaming power everywhere. All they had to do with the Air to make it perfect was get rid of the wasted space in the bezel and keyboard surround, add two more USB ports and Firewire - and they would have an OS X powered netbook without any real sacrifices.

When you're in an aircraft or train, it is the dept and width of our device that counts.

Please please Apple, make an ultralight narrow and shallow portable. And price is below £600. I am ready to buy. Until then, my Mac Mini is my Mac. Because it's affordable and compact.
post #7 of 155
Oh I can't wait for the headlines. Apple sequesters carbon in the new MacBook Air. It is sleek, stylish and is helping to save the planet.
post #8 of 155
Carbon Fiber = Mac Netbook...MacWorld 2009.
post #9 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlake View Post

This redesign would explain why the Air did not get many of the same tweaks as the MB and MBP (such as the new trackpad).

The Air already had a very large multi-touch trackpad (in fact it was the first Apple laptop with such a large trackpad). It did not get the no-button trackpad though (well, it did not get any case redesigns, only internals were changed). They will bundle any case design changes into one bigger update (instead of modifying the case every nine months).
post #10 of 155
Here come the VooDoo Envy 133 comparisons, which is a very sleek machine with a nice idea for incorporating an RJ-45 jack into the power brick with an WiFI transmitter so you don't have to carry a dongle or waste your USB port if the hotel you are at still only has cabled internet.

I would think the the unibody structure would stay the same with just the bottom (and possibly the top case), which are stamped aluminium could be carbon fiber for a very unique two two-toned look.
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?"
Reply
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?"
Reply
post #11 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by noirdesir View Post

The Air already had a very large multi-touch trackpad (in fact it was the first Apple laptop with such a large trackpad). It did not get the no-button trackpad though (well, it did not get any case redesigns, only internals were changed). They will bundle any case design changes into one bigger update (instead of modifying the case every nine months).

It did get the new miniDP connector. I was surprised that it didn't get the same discrete trackpad button as the other Mac notebooks.
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?"
Reply
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?"
Reply
post #12 of 155
The MBA would look pretty slick with a full carbon fiber enclosure. I would be pumped if that actually happened
post #13 of 155
Look like an exercise in diminishing returns. A 7-8% weight drop? Is that really worth the effort?

Also, what about the environmental aspect of such a switch? I believe you can cut aluminum with environmentally friendly coolants and recycle the shavings easily. On the other hand, forming composites involves some chemical reactions and I don't know how polluting those are.

Maybe someone can fill us in.
post #14 of 155
That should also improve the WiFi / Bluetooth / 3G* performance which in turn improves battery life.

* When it gets included
post #15 of 155
I hope they talk to Boeing first.
Emailing video from iPhone to Apple TV , sort of..
Reply
Emailing video from iPhone to Apple TV , sort of..
Reply
post #16 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderkid View Post

We need a machine that has a 10, 12, or even 13" screen and a full size keyboard. Where Apple totally blew it with all their recent portable releases is not catering for the credit crunch, the mobile professional and those who don't need video gaming power everywhere. All they had to do with the Air to make it perfect was get rid of the wasted space in the bezel and keyboard surround, add two more USB ports and Firewire - and they would have an OS X powered netbook without any real sacrifices.

When you're in an aircraft or train, it is the dept and width of our device that counts.

Please please Apple, make an ultralight narrow and shallow portable. And price is below £600. I am ready to buy. Until then, my Mac Mini is my Mac. Because it's affordable and compact.

Damn, do you people live in a parallel universe with different laws of physics or are you just trying to be funny? How can you even EXPECT to get MORE stuff crammed in LESS space AND a device that weights LESS and cost LESS? Are you even serious? Do you really think you can get USB x 2, FW, full keyboard and screen and at the same time a notebook that's lighter than one that does not have those specs and cost less? You can't get ultraportable without sacrifices. Get real please.

If you want an ultraportable notebook, you have to be prepared to give up some ports and specs and to pay for it. Miniaturization has a price you know.
post #17 of 155
I highly doubt they are looking at this for the Macbook Air. The thing is selling slower than diamond encrusted bras from Victoria's Secret. Bestbuy has had it for $1,299 for over a month now and the 5 closest stores all still have stock and the online store too.

They really missed the target with the Air, if they do revamp it the first thing they need to do before anything else is drop the screen size to 12" max.

More thank likely if they are looking at carbon fiber its for a netbook.
post #18 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kultist View Post

Damn, do you people live in a parallel universe with different laws of physics or are you just trying to be funny? How can you even EXPECT to get MORE stuff crammed in LESS space AND a device that weights LESS and cost LESS? Are you even serious? Do you really think you can get USB x 2, FW, full keyboard and screen and at the same time a notebook that's lighter than one that does not have those specs and cost less? You can't get ultraportable without sacrifices. Get real please.

If you want an ultraportable notebook, you have to be prepared to give up some ports and specs and to pay for it. Miniaturization has a price you know.

I realize there needs to be tradeoffs with an ultraportable. But you can easily get a 12" with 2 USB, Firewire (Apple wont put it on, you can guarantee that), headphone, ethernet, expresscard slot, and still weigh under what a macbook air does with better specs. Lenovo X61, and X200 for sure. Im sure Sony makes about 5 different models that fit that.
post #19 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by amac4me View Post

Very likely. The earliest we would see a redesign would be at Macworld 2009 in January. I think we'll see a complete refresh of the desktop line - iMac, Mac Pro, and perhaps the Mac mini at the event. If Apple could roll out an Air redesign that would be a way to make it into a true Mac event. The past two Macworld events (2008 & 2007) were essentially iPhone events, I don't think Apple has enough to do it three years in a row.

How was 2008 an iphone event?
post #20 of 155
I know this is off topic and I will try my hardest not to ever bring it up again but is it possible to refrain from calling Apple a 'Cupertino based firm', or worse still- a 'Cupertino based technology firm'? I know it is hard to write good copy that's just plain lazy. It's like me calling my neighbor 'the person residing next door' because I have already called him by his name - John - in a previous sentence. The company is Apple but it can equally be referred to as 'the company', 'the firm' or even 'Job's and co', but pleeeeze - we all know where Apple HQ is and that the company is involved in electronics.

OK.... sorry...
post #21 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dueces View Post

I highly doubt they are looking at this for the Macbook Air. The thing is selling slower than diamond encrusted bras from Victoria's Secret. Bestbuy has had it for $1,299 for over a month now and the 5 closest stores all still have stock and the online store too.

They really missed the target with the Air, if they do revamp it the first thing they need to do before anything else is drop the screen size to 12" max.

More thank likely if they are looking at carbon fiber its for a netbook.

Oh so you work at Apple to know how well their products are selling mate?
post #22 of 155
I owned an EEE PC 701. This was the netbook to start it all off, and it was succesful because despite it's small size and incredible (at the time) price, it didn't make too many sacrifices.

1. Three USB ports, two on one side and another on the other. Ideal for mouse on right and other attachments on the left. Well thought out.
2. WiFi - and much more sensitive and reliable than any Apple portable I have owned, probably thanks to the plastic ase.
3. Very robust case.
4. Incredibly light.
5. Full set of usable applications.
6. Video output that drove my Philips 20" LCD monitor at GREATER than 1680 x 1050 resolution with just one Linux hack.
7. Never crashed, unless one ran out of memory. (I could have upgraded it.)
8. Excellent audio quality from the built in multi format media player.
9. Powerful enough processor to watch videos, although not of DVD quality, but then for £250, it was not expected.
10. 3 hour battery if used sensibly.

There is NO excuse technically or other for Apple to not be able to produce a practical and fairly powerful netbook. The Atom processor and the same phenomenal design that went into the iPod Touch could easily lead to a sub £600, possibly even £500 Apple netbook.

The single reason Apple are not doing this is because they make a lot of money from the iPhone - from both hardware sales to app store and airtime income. However, for all it's wonders, the iPhone cannot be used to lengthy text entry and the screen is too small.

I am willing to challenge any decent hardware designer that one could produce a powerful, lightweight Apple OS X powered 'netbook' with a full size keyboard and a multitouch touch screen for under £500. (That's $800 or so.)

If Apple do not do this, Microsoft's Surface and other technologies are going to spawn a huge number of affordable and very usable devices that will almost instantly invalidate the otherwise justified usability advantage OS X offers today.

Evidence: Play with Google Earth on a desktop machine - and then try it on an iPod Touch or iPhone - and notice how much more intuitive it is. And then try a spreadsheet, a graphics application and many more. Touch is the future and an oversized iPod Touch (with mechanical keyboard!) is the future, so help me Stevie...

BFN!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kultist View Post

Damn, do you people live in a parallel universe with different laws of physics or are you just trying to be funny? How can you even EXPECT to get MORE stuff crammed in LESS space AND a device that weights LESS and cost LESS? Are you even serious? Do you really think you can get USB x 2, FW, full keyboard and screen and at the same time a notebook that's lighter than one that does not have those specs and cost less? You can't get ultraportable without sacrifices. Get real please.

If you want an ultraportable notebook, you have to be prepared to give up some ports and specs and to pay for it. Miniaturization has a price you know.
post #23 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave View Post

Look like an exercise in diminishing returns. A 7-8% weight drop? Is that really worth the effort?

Also, what about the environmental aspect of such a switch? I believe you can cut aluminum with environmentally friendly coolants and recycle the shavings easily. On the other hand, forming composites involves some chemical reactions and I don't know how polluting those are.

Maybe someone can fill us in.

To make something from CF, the usual practice is to use epoxy resin to bind the fibres together. Epoxy is comprised of two components, a resin and a hardener, which in most cases are mixed in a 2:1 ratio. The resulting liquid then hardens. It gives of some odour and invisible fumes in very small quantities. These should be vented away from workers. But apart from these very slight fumes, essentially all of the two original components go to forming the final plastic, so the environmental effects are negligible.

If Apple really wants to be cutting edge in the weight saving stakes they could look at using Dyneema for large area panels where high stiffness is not required.

Dyneema is also called spectra in some markets. It has a density less than that of water yet is 15 times stronger than steel by weight. It is lighter than CF and is transparent to radio frequencies so that would be a double edged sword. It is not as stiff as CF though.
post #24 of 155
I hope that Apple make both the bottom cover and the rear bezel from carbon fiber. I also hope for 4GB of ram -- at least with the faster processor version.
Mac user since August 1983.
Reply
Mac user since August 1983.
Reply
post #25 of 155
Umm why not make the whole notebook out of carbon fiber? Why only just the bottom? I have been curious as to why Apple has taken up this uni-body aluminum production when it appears that shaving down aluminum is more expensive than building the notebook out of carbon fiber instead?
You think Im an arrogant [expletive] who thinks hes above the law, and I think youre a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong. Steve Jobs
Reply
You think Im an arrogant [expletive] who thinks hes above the law, and I think youre a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong. Steve Jobs
Reply
post #26 of 155
Ugh, I f*cking hate the netbook evangelists, almost as much as I hate the xMac evangelists.

If Apple had wanted to make an underpowered, profitless netbook with a claustrophobic screen and carpal tunnel-inducing keyboard, they would have. They didn't and they aren't going to. GET OVER IT!

Anyway, if this carbon fiber rumor turns out to be true, I hope they include the buttonless trackpad as well and (maybe) the black-rimmed, glass display.
False comparisons do not a valid argument make.
Reply
False comparisons do not a valid argument make.
Reply
post #27 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

Umm why not make the whole notebook out of carbon fiber? Why only just the bottom? I have been curious as to why Apple has taken up this uni-body aluminum production when it appears that shaving down aluminum is more expensive than building the notebook out of carbon fiber instead?

The cost. Carbon fiber is extremely expensive.
post #28 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kultist View Post

Damn, do you people live in a parallel universe with different laws of physics or are you just trying to be funny? How can you even EXPECT to get MORE stuff crammed in LESS space AND a device that weights LESS and cost LESS? Are you even serious? Do you really think you can get USB x 2, FW, full keyboard and screen and at the same time a notebook that's lighter than one that does not have those specs and cost less? You can't get ultraportable without sacrifices. Get real please.

If you want an ultraportable notebook, you have to be prepared to give up some ports and specs and to pay for it. Miniaturization has a price you know.

I will agree with you that ultraportable notebooks require sacrifices, but a single USB port that is recessed so that you need an extension cable of some type to even use the USB port is an absolutely unneccesary sacrifice.

There are plenty of netbooks(<10") that have a smaller chassis that have >1 USB port. Heck, many of them still offer ethernet as well and a few like the HP mini managed to get more USB ports, ethernet, AND an expresscard/34 slot into a 9" laptop. If HP stuffed all that into a 9" how is it that Apple can't get half of that into a 13"? Weight certainly isn't a big factor. After you subtract the weight of hole in the body and add a USB connector and a little solder on the logic board how much weight does a USB port add? 2-3 grams maybe? USB connectors are only a few grams so after you subtract the weight of the hole adding USB ports shouldn't add much mass to the laptop.

There are some genuine sacrifices that need to be made in an ultraportable(smaller keyboards, lower power CPUs/GPUs, etc.), but any Apple apologist that claims that there wasn't enough space for an ethernet jack or another USB port or an Expresscard/34 slot clearly hasn't looked around much. Heck, at about the same weight, Apple could have included an optical drive, 3 USB ports, and an ethernet port like Lenovo did with the X300. Dropping the optical drive, the ethernet port, and the USB ports didn't make the MBA much lighter, but took away quite a bit of functionality in the process. For a machine without an optical drive the MBA should really be a lot lighter than it is! Not moving to a carbon fiber body like many of Apple's competitors have done with machines to cut down on weight seems like a serious oversight for a machine that is supposed to be really light. The MBA should really be closer to 2.5lbs than 3.0lbs if they really wanted to gloat about it being light.

Good industrial design follows the mantra that form follows function, but at Apple it seems that form must limit function in order to meet Steve Jobs visions(eg. Apple III, Mac Cube, Macbook Air, etc.). Jonathan Ives and his industrial design team have made some nice designs, but the MacBook Air isn't one of them.
post #29 of 155
In my search for "carbon fiber notebook," it yielded this article from earlier this year...
http://www.electronista.com/articles...iber.notebook/
You think Im an arrogant [expletive] who thinks hes above the law, and I think youre a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong. Steve Jobs
Reply
You think Im an arrogant [expletive] who thinks hes above the law, and I think youre a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong. Steve Jobs
Reply
post #30 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgkin View Post

CF is used extensively in the pro cycling industry, with frames and most of the structural parts of these high performance frames built out of the stuff. I think there are places on high performance cars that use CF as well. It would not be unreasonable to create the entire LCD panel rear out of CF, though that may give them a design headache figuring out how to get the aesthetics down.

<pedantic mode>
I assume by pro cycling you mean the road/track cycling industry. Aluminium still plays the predominant role in MTB frame technology. Super light XC bikes often being the only place for CF and or Titanium frames.

Formula 1, GP2, Formula Renault etc all use full carbon fibre chassis and body panels. Motorsport was one of the main pioneers for CF technologies. Lots of supercars sport full carbon fibre bodies, some including the Pagani Zonda have full CF chassis too. That's without going into track day orientated, but still road legal cars like Radicals and the new KTM X-Bow which are all carbon fibre too.

It goes without saying that most performance cars life Ferrari and Porsche use CF for interior trim and external aero components.
</pedantic mode>
post #31 of 155
Been there... done that...

Carbon Fiber Macbook Air:
http://blog.makezine.com/archive/200...C-0D6B48984890
post #32 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kultist View Post

Damn, do you people live in a parallel universe with different laws of physics or are you just trying to be funny? How can you even EXPECT to get MORE stuff crammed in LESS space AND a device that weights LESS and cost LESS? Are you even serious? Do you really think you can get USB x 2, FW, full keyboard and screen and at the same time a notebook that's lighter than one that does not have those specs and cost less? You can't get ultraportable without sacrifices. Get real please.

If you want an ultraportable notebook, you have to be prepared to give up some ports and specs and to pay for it. Miniaturization has a price you know.

I think you need to get real. The PowerBook G4 12" has a smaller footprint than the MacBook Air and it offered EVERYTHING! I would rather have a notebook that is 1 inch thick with everything, than a notebook that is 3/4 of an inch that offers bascially nothing.

The PowerBook G4 12" was popular, the MacBook Air is an overpriced Dud! Who cares if it is thinner and lighter, you still can't open one up easily in coach-class on an airline. The Air would have been more popular with a 12" screen and footprint.
post #33 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave View Post

Look like an exercise in diminishing returns. A 7-8% weight drop? Is that really worth the effort?

Also, what about the environmental aspect of such a switch? I believe you can cut aluminum with environmentally friendly coolants and recycle the shavings easily. On the other hand, forming composites involves some chemical reactions and I don't know how polluting those are.

Maybe someone can fill us in.

It hardly seems to be worth the effort, esp. if the price would have to go up.

If they could bring the weight to 2.5 pounds, that would be different.

Like Wonderkid has mentioned, I've thought that while the thin edges look good, they are a waste in space and in material. It may not look as thin, but get rid of that.

And as someone else has also mentioned, this uses either epoxy, or polyester resins. I work with this stuff, and it ain't pretty!

Also, this stuff must be trimmed, which leaves waste that is unusable, and not recyclable.

Then the question is what to do with the edges. Unlike aluminum, the edges are raw, and must be finished, or hidden.
post #34 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

Umm why not make the whole notebook out of carbon fiber? Why only just the bottom? I have been curious as to why Apple has taken up this uni-body aluminum production when it appears that shaving down aluminum is more expensive than building the notebook out of carbon fiber instead?

Quality carbon fiber material is even more expensive than aluminum machined from a block.

And then we are back to molds, etc. this eliminates the most important feature of CNC machining. Fast, cheap, design turnaround.
post #35 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adjei View Post

Oh so you work at Apple to know how well their products are selling mate?

It is pretty obvious that the Air is not selling well. Jobs himself said the MacBook is the best selling of all the portables. Pro would be next, then the Air. You don't need to work at Apple to figure that one out.
post #36 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

In my search for "carbon fiber notebook," it yielded this article from earlier this year...
http://www.electronista.com/articles...iber.notebook/

What came of it?
post #37 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by hillstones View Post

It is pretty obvious that the Air is not selling well. Jobs himself said the MacBook is the best selling of all the portables. Pro would be next, then the Air. You don't need to work at Apple to figure that one out.

That doesn't mean it's not selling well. Do you know the sales goals for the machine? I don't!
post #38 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by hillstones View Post

The Air would have been more popular with a 12" screen and footprint.

Not that I disagree with you, but the Air likely shares the same display as the MacBook, so Apple can benefit from volume pricing and an economy of scale (e.g., simpler quality control and an ability to divert components where they're needed most).

On a side note, 500 GB drives probably aren't offered as an option yet on the MacBook and MacBook Pro because there's currently only a sole source (Samsung), which reduces bargaining power and would wreak havoc on sales if the manufacturer couldn't meet demand.
post #39 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderkid View Post

I owned an EEE PC 701. This was the netbook to start it all off, and it was succesful because despite it's small size and incredible (at the time) price, it didn't make too many sacrifices.

1. Three USB ports, two on one side and another on the other. Ideal for mouse on right and other attachments on the left. Well thought out.
2. WiFi - and much more sensitive and reliable than any Apple portable I have owned, probably thanks to the plastic ase.
3. Very robust case.
4. Incredibly light.
5. Full set of usable applications.
6. Video output that drove my Philips 20" LCD monitor at GREATER than 1680 x 1050 resolution with just one Linux hack.
7. Never crashed, unless one ran out of memory. (I could have upgraded it.)
8. Excellent audio quality from the built in multi format media player.
9. Powerful enough processor to watch videos, although not of DVD quality, but then for £250, it was not expected.
10. 3 hour battery if used sensibly.

There is NO excuse technically or other for Apple to not be able to produce a practical and fairly powerful netbook. The Atom processor and the same phenomenal design that went into the iPod Touch could easily lead to a sub £600, possibly even £500 Apple netbook.

The single reason Apple are not doing this is because they make a lot of money from the iPhone - from both hardware sales to app store and airtime income. However, for all it's wonders, the iPhone cannot be used to lengthy text entry and the screen is too small.

I am willing to challenge any decent hardware designer that one could produce a powerful, lightweight Apple OS X powered 'netbook' with a full size keyboard and a multitouch touch screen for under £500. (That's $800 or so.)

If Apple do not do this, Microsoft's Surface and other technologies are going to spawn a huge number of affordable and very usable devices that will almost instantly invalidate the otherwise justified usability advantage OS X offers today.

Evidence: Play with Google Earth on a desktop machine - and then try it on an iPod Touch or iPhone - and notice how much more intuitive it is. And then try a spreadsheet, a graphics application and many more. Touch is the future and an oversized iPod Touch (with mechanical keyboard!) is the future, so help me Stevie...

BFN!

An Apple MacBook Air-based Netbook with smaller screen--yes. A smaller screen could cut weight. Yes, maybe lose something else but a Mac portable that is usable when sitting in coach and the person ahead of you reclines the seat all the way without warning is worth more than a Eee PC to me. Less expensive than the MacBook Air is reasonable but not essential.

However, carbon fiber composite may be a mistake. I work in high-tech manufacturing and I was shocked when I saw my first F-16 in the factory. It has wings and other parts that are carbon fiber composite and they urged us to not touch these parts.

When I asked why, the General Dynamics supervisor said the composites were very susceptible to impact. I then asked if one could be shot down with a low tech bow and arrow and they said yes but they did not intend to fly that low!

If the US Air Force has to worry about carbon fiber composite impact, then how would laptops survive abuse?
post #40 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave View Post

Look like an exercise in diminishing returns. A 7-8% weight drop? Is that really worth the effort?

Also, what about the environmental aspect of such a switch? I believe you can cut aluminum with environmentally friendly coolants and recycle the shavings easily. On the other hand, forming composites involves some chemical reactions and I don't know how polluting those are.

Maybe someone can fill us in.

As far as I've heard, CF + resin is not recyclable. It has to be burned or dumped.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

Umm why not make the whole notebook out of carbon fiber? Why only just the bottom? I have been curious as to why Apple has taken up this uni-body aluminum production when it appears that shaving down aluminum is more expensive than building the notebook out of carbon fiber instead?

Carbon fiber is labor intensive, the CF material is expensive, and is not yet well suited for mass production. It is better suited for lower volume high cost items, such as aircraft and exotic cars and such. There are people trying to automate the process but it's not there yet. It's a bit more of an elaborate art/craft than an industrial process.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Future Apple Hardware
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Future Apple Hardware › Apple may turn to carbon fiber for lighter MacBook Air