MacBook: Plastic Fantastic

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Not to mislead Mr Steven Jobs and the marketing department at Apple; we want the new MacBooks to be in plastic. Aluminium sucks and does not resist heavy use.



I have had the PowerBook in Titan and the Pro in aluminium and they all break when they fall. The iBOOKs and to a certain extent, the MacBook plastic, do resist a fall and heavy use.



In a Pro version I would want:

Plastic edition

Smaller edition 10-13", 15" is too big

Slot for extra harddrive

FireWire 2

Dual camera, outside/inside

Reinforced edges

Bluetooth remote?

Optional to buy it without harddrive? 250GB harddrives can be bought at 1/2 the price elsewhere.





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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    guarthoguartho Posts: 1,208member
    *Looks at MacBook with broken plastic on both edges exposing internal components...* Hmm... gotta disagree with you there.
  • Reply 2 of 24
    gongon Posts: 2,437member
    I'd rather have a superior machine and not drop it.



    That said, rounding corners more should really add durability without necessitating a lot of other changes.



    "Controlled deformation" or "reactive armor" would be interesting concepts to use on a laptop. Namely, there would be some (cheap and replaceable) parts that are intended to bend or break on impact so that expensive parts won't. A variation of this is that the whole object is allowed to break into parts, and the break-up absorbs most of the impact so the chance of materials fracturing goes down, but the parts can be easily reassembled. I have a feeling Nokia's low end phones are purposefully designed like this. Drop one on a hard surface, and very often you see the battery cover and the battery fly out, but nothing breaks and you can just put the phone together again.



    Aluminum is good if you want to let more heat out. I feel my Macbook with its plastic shell and small ventilation is struggling with this already.



    Why would you even want a camera on the outside of a laptop?



    I'd love a 11" ultraportable, no objection there
  • Reply 3 of 24
    messiahmessiah Posts: 1,689member
    Yeah, I have to concur ? my wife's MacBook has taken a real beating and it still looks okay. I'm really impressed with how resilient this humble little laptop is...
  • Reply 4 of 24
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    A 10-13" ultraportable and space for a second hard drive are probably mutually incompatible. I very much don't want to waste space for a second hard drive. I don't even want space for one hard drive in an ultraportable. 64GB of SSD would be fine for me.
  • Reply 5 of 24
    Gon, Reactive armour is the kind on military vehicals that explodes outward when it is hit, preventing damage. that would be interesting to see on a laptop.

    But I do understand what you are saying, and that is a good idea, except that people might freak out if they see their whole laptop shatter, even if it would easily fit together again.
  • Reply 6 of 24
    irelandireland Posts: 17,743member
    There's this new material that Apple's going to use, it's called alumi!
  • Reply 7 of 24
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by carlosantoso View Post


    Not to mislead Mr Steven Jobs and the marketing department at Apple; we want the new MacBooks to be in plastic. Aluminium sucks and does not resist heavy use.



    I have had the PowerBook in Titan and the Pro in aluminium and they all break when they fall. The iBOOKs and to a certain extent, the MacBook plastic, do resist a fall and heavy use.



    In a Pro version I would want:

    Plastic edition Plastic is less strong then the aluminum, as it shatters much more easily when cold (EDIT: not clod), or even when not.

    Smaller edition 10-13", 15" is too big The small plastic size is one of the defining fetuers of the MB. This would only confuse people.

    Slot for extra harddrive In a 10" frame? Besides, unless yoou want your battery life to be about one hour....

    FireWire 2 This tech is not everywhere, because it did not take off like FW400 did, (I'm assuming you're talking about FW800)

    Dual camera, outside/inside Why the hell would you want this on the outside?

    Reinforced edges Actually pretty reasonable, infact, the whole frame should be reinforced.

    Bluetooth remote? Why would you want this? There is already the IR remote.

    Optional to buy it without harddrive? 250GB harddrives can be bought at 1/2 the price elsewhere. Apple would never do this, even if I think it should be done.









    I suppose you want a 2.4 Ghz C2D in there, with a superdrive and an 8600M w/ 256 MB SDRAM. This computer would cost about $3500 and have a battery life of about "One half of ten minutes!!" (anyone get the reference?)



    Try this.... this is the closest thing that exists



    Close enough for you?
  • Reply 8 of 24
    If it wasn't so expensive, carbon fibre would be an excellent fit. It's tough but doesn't deform or crack in the way aluminum or plastic might. And it's very lightweight -- you could easily see the MacBook shed half a pound of weight through that alone.
  • Reply 9 of 24
    gongon Posts: 2,437member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JakeTheRock View Post


    Gon, Reactive armour is the kind on military vehicals that explodes outward when it is hit, preventing damage. that would be interesting to see on a laptop.



    I know. It is fundamentally the same thing, controlled destruction of expendable parts instead of destruction of valuable parts. As for the "active" component, there's already an active protection component on the laptops, the Sudden Motion Sensor.
    Quote:

    But I do understand what you are saying, and that is a good idea, except that people might freak out if they see their whole laptop shatter, even if it would easily fit together again.



    Just a matter of getting used to it. They get an adrenaline spike when they drop something by accident, anyway.
  • Reply 10 of 24
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,436moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Guartho View Post


    *Looks at MacBook with broken plastic on both edges exposing internal components...* Hmm... gotta disagree with you there.



    Yep I'm with you on this. I owned a 12" plastic ibook and a 12" powerbook and by far the powerbook looked nicer after I'd finished with it.



    I do think white plastic has a nice appearance but I personally think it looks cheap compared to anodized aluminium.



    Metal is better for cooling too.



    Another thing to remember is that plastic cracks, metal only bends so it's easier to deal with a damaged metal case.



    Metal picks up less dirt and scratches.
  • Reply 11 of 24
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Commodus View Post


    If it wasn't so expensive, carbon fibre would be an excellent fit. It's tough but doesn't deform or crack in the way aluminum or plastic might. And it's very lightweight -- you could easily see the MacBook shed half a pound of weight through that alone.



    Carbon fibre would be sick. I'd buy a 12" MBP with rubberised (splashproof) gaskets tomorrow.
  • Reply 12 of 24
    4metta4metta Posts: 365member
    I prefer the hard plastic of my macbook to the dentable aluminum of the macbook pros. I hope they don't go aluminum on the new ones for that reason. I also feel the black macbooks are the sharpest looking laptops Apple has out right now.
  • Reply 13 of 24
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Commodus View Post


    If it wasn't so expensive, carbon fibre would be an excellent fit. It's tough but doesn't deform or crack in the way aluminum or plastic might. And it's very lightweight -- you could easily see the MacBook shed half a pound of weight through that alone.



    The problem is that carbon fiber is really hard to work with, and to this point, as far as I know, it is absolutely unusable in mass-produced products. It also isn't very dimensionally stable: in many cases this can be designed around, but I think it would be difficult to do so for a notebook PC. Polycarbonate is difficult to beat when you factor in its light weight, OK tensile strength, excellent shock resistance (i.e. dimensional stability), and ease of molding. The only thing superior on all accounts is Torlon (polyamide-imide / PAI), which is quite expensive and would have a more difficult painting procedure -- it's orange(ish).
  • Reply 14 of 24
    Ummm... why not have both? Try putting this on:



    Speck Hard Plastic Case Covers



    They easily snap over your Macbook Pro. I just ordered them myself and they work beautifully; no scratches and I haven't broken it yet!
  • Reply 15 of 24
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post


    The problem is that carbon fiber is really hard to work with, and to this point, as far as I know, it is absolutely unusable in mass-produced products. It also isn't very dimensionally stable: in many cases this can be designed around, but I think it would be difficult to do so for a notebook PC.



    Sony have been selling carbon-fibre ultraportable laptops in Japan for years.
  • Reply 16 of 24
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,436moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 4metta View Post


    I also feel the black macbooks are the sharpest looking laptops Apple has out right now.



    I actually think the black Macbook is the second worst looking product Apple sell behind the iMac, which is quite fortunate if I was buying one as the white ones are much cheaper. I like the black ipods and iphone but the white Macbook looked far better to me when I saw them side by side.



    Silver definitely comes top and I think that without the black border, the new iMac could have easily been the better design. With the black border, I have to think twice. I really hope they don't put a black border on the Macbook. If it's silver with a glass scratch proof display, that will look awesome and hopefully they will do something to get rid of the glare, there has to be some manufacturing technique to make it less than what's on the iMac.
  • Reply 17 of 24
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post


    Sony have been selling carbon-fibre ultraportable laptops in Japan for years.



    As far as I can tell, these use carbon-fiber frame and exterior panels made of carbon-filled plastic. They're not like F1 cars, which are made almost entirely of the stuff, both body and chassis. That point also shows one of the caveats of carbon fiber: it splinters on impact. I'm not sure the weight-savings of using carbon in the chassis are very significant over using aluminum or high-strength steel, which in certain designs can yield the lightest-weight solution since so little of it may be used. But perhaps. I'm sure Apple has evaluated using carbon fiber -- possibly it will show up in future products.
  • Reply 18 of 24
    reganregan Posts: 474member
    Ah the age old question. :-)



    Well in this case....it's plastic or Aluminum. But Steve Jobs supposedly wants to switch for the same environmental reasons.



    So if thats the "case", I whole heartedly support the switch to Aluminum.



    I'm just looking forward to a redesign.



    I'm an love to travel, and am sort of...um...."accident" prone....and even tho I've never owned a macbook, I've had 2 ibooks in the past, and I thought they held up extremely well. Plastic shells are sturdy.



    That being said, I think Aluminum shells will also hold up nicely.



    I think the ONLY problem I saw with Aluminum in the past was with the first Titanium powerbooks and their weak hinges. What was that? 5 years ago? Those hinges were horrible.



    But the new aluminum powerbook hinges are solid.



    I'm looking forward to a complete redesign across the board. I've heard the macbook and macbook pros are going to look similar with the refresh.



    I think a choice between silver and brushed black aluminum would be AWESOME.



    But the bottom line is that I will get a new Apple laptop regardless once they are updated.



    And of course there is the rumor of an ultra portable too. Good things ahead. :-)
  • Reply 19 of 24
    A camera on the ouside is good for filming, showing the environment to people you are talking with on ichat etc.

    I would be awsome. :-)
  • Reply 20 of 24
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    I've not had any problem with the MacBook Pro's aluminum. It's best to avoid dropping them altogether, so polycarbonate might be a little more impact resistant, it's far better to be paranoid its handling.



    The biggest thing I've heard of is people with sweaty palms end up eating away at the anodization.
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