Apple could trade aluminum for carbon fiber body in iPad 2 - rumor

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
In an effort to make its next-generation iPad lighter, Apple could replace the device's existing aluminum enclosure and instead make it high-strength carbon fiber, a new rumor suggests.



As he is wont to do, John Gruber of Daring Fireball made the comment in the footnotes of his latest post. However, he cautioned that he is not 100 percent confident in the rumor, which is why it was placed in the footnotes.



"I could publish things I'm only half-sure about, like the iPad 2 switching from aluminum to a lightweight high-strength carbon fiber body, but I don't, because I'm only half sure and I've only heard about it from second-hand sources who themselves are unsure about it," he wrote.



"And even if I were to off-handedly mention such speculation, I'd do so in a footnote and take pains to emphasize the uncertain nature of the information and the second-hand status of the sources thereof."



The post was made largely in response to a new report from Engadget, which claimed that "engineering issues" forced Apple to remove features like an SD card and Retina Display from its second-generation iPad. Gruber himself previously responded in January and said claims of a high-resolution Retina Display on the next iPad were "too good to be true."



This week, he added that "nothing" has changed about the iPad 2 since January. He said it's very uncommon for major features to be axed from a device from Apple at the last minute, as "most major Apple products are pretty stable two months out from release."



For its part, AppleInsider reported in January that the next iPad will not have an SD card slot or a Retina Display.



The most prominent example of Apple removing a feature from a new device just before its introduction came in 2009, when Apple planned to add a rear-facing camera to the iPod touch. AppleInsider first reported just days before Apple's media event that technical issues forced the company to scrap the feature.



As for the rumor about a carbon fiber enclosure, a patent application discovered by AppleInsider last November highlighted Apple's interest in using the material to create a lighter iPad. The Cupertino, Calif., company has shown interest in using either a layered carbon fiber material or a spine or frame used to support a carbon fiber skin.







Apple could mold a supportive spine to a carbon fiber skin for a unique implementation of the material, in order to address issues where carbon fiber can crack or break if bent or rolled in a certain way. Apple's patent application, which shows an iPad-like device in its accompanying illustrations, notes that devices with a metal back are durable, but can be heavier and more expensive.



Apple showed interest in building a carbon fiber MacBook Air in 2008, in an effort to make its diminutive notebook even thinner and lighter. Carbon fiber is an extremely lightweight material comprised of very thin fibers about .005 to .010 millimeters in diameter and composed mostly of carbon atoms.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 56
    markbmarkb Posts: 153member
    Bunk



    Expensive, prone to cracking, poor thermal conductors, poooor recycling. Composites just are not economically viable imo. How much weight would you actually save for those other tradeoffs?
  • Reply 2 of 56
    This is ridiculous...but anything for a few more pageviews...right, AI? The days leading up to an apple announcement are like "sweeps" in the TV industry - get your pageviews up as high as possible to set advertising rates. Everyone knows traffic spikes when Apple is about to announce.
  • Reply 3 of 56
    Soooo....maybe it's a possibility, perhaps?
  • Reply 4 of 56
    This site is becoming more and more ridiculous. A footnote in a blog used by it's author to highlight the idiocy or promoting rumor is then used as the basis for an article on this site to promote a rumor!? WTF!



    I am going to spend less time on this site. It has become less informative and more noise.
  • Reply 5 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleStud View Post


    This is ridiculous...but anything for a few more pageviews...right, AI? The days leading up to an apple announcement are like "sweeps" in the TV industry - get your pageviews up as high as possible to set advertising rates. Everyone knows traffic spikes when Apple is about to announce.



    You shouldn't blame AI, if you want to place blame, place that onto the readers. Nowadays we have demand-driven media and if readers want to read anything with an Apple label on it regardless of content, it's not AI's problem to generate them.
  • Reply 6 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hogan View Post


    This site is becoming more and more ridiculous. A footnote in a blog used by it's author to highlight the idiocy or promoting rumor is then used as the basis for an article on this site to promote a rumor!? WTF!



    I am going to spend less time on this site. It has become less informative and more noise.



    they're maximizing pageviews since traffic always spikes when Apple is close to announcing a product. It's cheap and makes AI look like a tabloid, but it makes sense for business I guess.
  • Reply 7 of 56
    I don't care. With what I know, I will buy it anyway. But after that I'll probably wait until the liquid metal version comes out ;-)
  • Reply 8 of 56
    This is possible, but I'm not convinced. We’re told that CF is really light and strong, but it needs a minimum thickness in order to exceed the strength to weight ratio of aluminum. On top of that, CF is more prone to defeats in production can can't be formed with the exactness of aluminium where Apple can add or take away a little thickness to idealize it for the iPad 2's needs.



    Then there is recycliablity. Sure, the carbon is recyclyable, but the resin that is used in it often isn't it. Finally, it acts like a Faraday cage within the layers of CF blocking RF means it won’t be a good replacement to boost wireless connectivity.



    I’m not saying it can't or won't be beneficial for Apple, just that the info so far suggests that it's not likely to happen with the size of CF they are suggesting. I’d first expect Apple to experiment with forming smaller, less obvious pieces in shipping products to test it out. For instance, in a remote control or an iPod, or really just anything that doesn’t take up a square foot of space and is the 2nd most popular Apple product (and perhaps 1st in mindshare) currently shipping.
  • Reply 9 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Logisticaldron View Post


    This is possible, but I'm not convinced. We?re told that CF is really light and strong, but it needs a minimum thickness in order to exceed the strength to weight ratio of aluminum. On top of that, CF is more prone to defeats in production can can't be formed with the exactness of aluminium where Apple can add or take away a little thickness to idealize it for the iPad 2's needs.



    Then there is recycliablity. Sure, the carbon is recyclyable, but the resin that is used in it often isn't it. Finally, it acts like a Faraday cage within the layers of CF blocking RF means it won?t be a good replacement to boost wireless connectivity.



    I?m not saying it can't or won't be beneficial for Apple, just that the info so far suggests that it's not likely to happen with the size of CF they are suggesting. I?d first expect Apple to experiment with forming smaller, less obvious pieces in shipping products to test it out. For instance, in a remote control or an iPod, or really just anything that doesn?t take up a square foot of space and is the 2nd most popular Apple product (and perhaps 1st in mindshare) currently shipping.



    So you think it would be prudent for Apple to produce and ship a carbon fibre remote to prove prove proof of concept i.e structural integrity and eliminate the enormous heft of a remote?!
  • Reply 10 of 56
    shobizshobiz Posts: 207member
    I guess there are some manufacturing proccesses to make this as easy as the current shell?

    Seems like a high labor/machining part to make. Even if the mold is excellant you are still going to have some level of machining to clean it up. Also, the current shell is pretty thin and I would guess CF would be a lot thicker in relative terms.

    I don't clai mto know a lot about making carbon fiber parts in mass....



    Logisticaldron makes some good points a couple of posts up...
  • Reply 11 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hogan View Post


    So you think it would be prudent for Apple to produce and ship a carbon fibre remote to prove prove proof of concept i.e structural integrity and eliminate the enormous heft of a remote?!



    Is that really what you think I implied? I thought my implication was clear in that the ability for manufacturing defects, cost and cracks are a real issue. Weight can be calculated to the atomic level, so that is the one factor we do know.



    Just look at the LiquidMetal SIM ejectors. Do you really think Apple did a test run of those to test the weight? Of course not, it was to test production possibilities on a less important and simpler level.
  • Reply 12 of 56
    Hilarious that Gruber mentions a rumor he is half sure about in passing, and all the Apple blogs regurgitate it as front-page news.
  • Reply 13 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    In an effort to make its next-generation iPad lighter, Apple could replace the device's existing aluminum enclosure and instead make it high-strength carbon fiber, a new rumor suggests. ...



    While I actually do believe that Apple is about to introduce a carbon fibre iPad, this "article" is lame. Someone should do a bit more research before publishing.



    For instance there are other more interesting patents on carbon fibre technology Apple has come up with that can be found with a simple search or a daily visit to Patently Apple (which is where the drawings and most of the facts of this story come from). There were also rumours as long ago as last year about Apple experimenting with this that describe some of the Interesting results.



    All this is, is a reprinting of Gruber's footnote from this week, combined with information from Patently Apple. Regurgitated for hits with no extra information, and no effort at all on the part of the author.



    I'm not trying to be mean, it's just that (IMO of course) this is the last, good, Apple rumours site and it used to be far more professional than it currently is. Where the f*ck are we going to go to get some facts and decent behind the scenes analysis if Apple Insider is hell bent on becoming the next Gizmodo of online journalism?
  • Reply 14 of 56
    shaun, ukshaun, uk Posts: 1,050member
    Keep the news flowing, some of us still appreciate what you do AI.
  • Reply 15 of 56
    jnjnjnjnjnjn Posts: 588member
    Nop. No carbon. This requires a completely different production process. And carbon production is difficult to scale up.

    Its also prone to all kinds of problems, like cracking sounds when stressed and very easily scratching or 'shaving'. Look at the bicycle industry for details.



    It is very probable that a future pad, pod, MacBook iMac has a unibody liquid metal shell.

    It has three advantages compared to aluminum: it's cheap and light and can be injected in a casting mold.



    J.
  • Reply 16 of 56
    What does this even say "As he is wont to do"? Please proofread your articles before posting!
  • Reply 17 of 56
    I put this kind of news in the same category from earlier this week...



    MBP

    1) Liquid Metal Case (Wrong)

    2) SSD 16gig OS Boot Drive (Wrong)

    3) Option to remove DVD and replace with SSD (Wrong)

    4) 17" to come standard with SSD and 8gig of Ram (Wrong)

    5) MBP will weigh X amount less (wrong)
  • Reply 18 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fizzmaster View Post


    What does this even say "As he is wont to do"? Please proofread your articles before posting!



    ?adjective

    1.accustomed; used (usually followed by an infinitive): He was wont to rise at dawn.
  • Reply 19 of 56
    stuffestuffe Posts: 391member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fizzmaster View Post


    What does this even say "As he is wont to do"? Please proofread your articles before posting!



    OK, it's a relatively olde worlde word, as it were, but it's perfectly legit. Check a dictionary before posting!
  • Reply 20 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vjo,npd View Post


    I put this kind of news in the same category from earlier this week...



    MBP

    1) Liquid Metal Case (Wrong)

    2) SSD 16gig OS Boot Drive (Wrong)

    3) Option to remove DVD and replace with SSD (Wrong)

    4) 17" to come standard with SSD and 8gig of Ram (Wrong)

    5) MBP will weigh X amount less (wrong)



    I believe those were all predicated upon a case change, which didn?t happen this time around. With multiple stages of development lasting years it?s possible that all those are true (I know some are true) and will arrive in due time. As always, take rumors with a grain of salt.
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