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

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66
    iPad Mini production underway?
  • Reply 2 of 66


    Clearly THIS must be that Apple TV. /s

  • Reply 3 of 66
    poochpooch Posts: 768member
    surely it's the grills or the rear quarter panels of the new apple car ...
  • Reply 4 of 66
    Clearly THIS must be that Apple TV. /s

    Apple TV already exists.
    Surely you mean the iPhone 7, I mean 6. :-/
  • Reply 5 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.

  • Reply 6 of 66
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    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.
  • Reply 7 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. 

  • Reply 8 of 66
    iMac mini?
  • Reply 9 of 66
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,072member
    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...
  • Reply 10 of 66
    daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member
    allenbf wrote: »
    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.

    700
  • Reply 11 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!! image

  • Reply 12 of 66
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,959member
    allenbf wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 66
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,959member
    allenbf wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 66
    The new comment system sucks.
  • Reply 15 of 66
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,959member
    gazoobee wrote: »
    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..
  • Reply 16 of 66
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,959member
    daharder wrote: »
    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.
    700

    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.
  • Reply 17 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??
  • Reply 18 of 66
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    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? 

  • Reply 19 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

  • Reply 20 of 66
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member

    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. 


     


     


     
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