Carbon fiber could be Apple's key to a lighter next-gen iPad

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  • Reply 21 of 127
    I do wonder how much of a difference this would actually make. Surely the bulk of the weight is in the battery and the glass screen, so the percentage weight change by just making the back out of carbon fibre would be next to nothing.
  • Reply 22 of 127
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by huntson View Post


    Can someone explain to me exactly how carbon fiber breaks. I understand the concept that if you put stress on an object made out of the material in the same direction as the seams then it will break. What I don't get is how my tripods (I am a t producer) made out of carbon fiber have never broken



    The carbon fibers in your tripod are not aligned, so different layers go in different directions to reinforce the material. That part of Apple's patent is not the unique part. Anything made of carbon fiber is made that way. The claimed unique aspect of Apple's patent is the use of an internal frame to support the skin and to prevent bending and twisting of the device, and I'm not even sure that is unique anymore.



    I'm not sure how feasible this design would turn out to be. The frame would protect from bending, but in order to save any signficant amount of weight and avoid making the device thicker (we all know how Apple likes thin devices), the skin itself would have to be very thin. It would be like a drum head that you could push in and out. In order to protect the internal components, the skin would have to be relatively thick or include additional internal spars to support the skin. In the end, the additional cost of manufacturing the carbon fiber shell would probably outweigh (no pun intended) and marginal weight savings.
  • Reply 23 of 127
    I am a newbie here and just wanna say Hi to everyone. I am Daniel from Pennsylvania, US.





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  • Reply 24 of 127
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by universeman View Post


    So this is where we are now. "I have an idea! Let's build bicycles out of unicorn tears one day! They're lightweight and have magical properties!"



    "Quick, go get a patent!"



    This patent business has gone too far.



    Yeah, because there are so many cars, and other products already being built out of unicorn tears...



    Are you trolling, or just daft?
  • Reply 25 of 127
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,352member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


    No, we have already debunked that piece of nonsense in previous threads, both in terms of extremely high cost and it being a heavy material.



    As for this ridiculous patent application. If the patent office are silly enough to grant it, it would get rolled in a court challenge due to prior art. Boat building springs immediately to mind where cloth is wrapped over a PU foam form to make a skin and stiffening member a contiguous structure. Pretty sure it has been done in sailplanes for decades. as well.







    Carbon is not exactly in short supply. There are CF recovery systems if we start to run short.



    Ok, sorry to have missed the debunking. I was under the impression as it was so much stronger it could be far thinner thus overcoming the weight issue.
  • Reply 26 of 127
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by daniel9ds View Post


    I am a newbie here and just wanna say Hi to everyone. I am Daniel from Pennsylvania, US.



    Hi Daniel. Welcome to AI. Try to avoid the trolls, we have plenty of them
  • Reply 27 of 127
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


    I like carbon fiber. I don't see the batteries as being a surmountable problem. They are already based on lithium, the lightest metal.



    Speaking of which, I wonder why Apple don't look at applying the unibody idea to magnesium instead of Aluminium. There is a glut at the moment and it's cheap. It's Lighter than Al and stiff. I know it is reactive as all hell, but maybe they could coat it with Titanium nitride or some other surface treatment to get round the problem.



    You mean make them out of magnesium like the cases of the old NeXT machines?



    From what I remember that was one of the reasons they had problems manufacturing them, but maybe that's been solved now.
  • Reply 28 of 127
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cascadians View Post


    Carbon fiber has been used in kayaks for quite a long time now.



    Airplanes, too. Anywhere lightness and strength are at a premium is a potential application for carbon fiber. Speaking of airplanes, they are most often constructed with a rigid skin over supporting spars and ribs. This method of construction, known as semi-monocoque, has been around for nearly 100 years.
  • Reply 29 of 127
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Isidore View Post


    Boats, road cars, all formula 1 racing cars (which have tremendous impact strength) many different aircraft, both military and non military, and even other computer devices- Sony come to mind. the only thing they can be patenting is some specific manufacturing or design technique, not the use of the material. I would love them to use cfrp for this and the Macbook Air. It's light, won't dent like aluminium and won't dent or scratch other things. And when the device finally dies, it will make a lovely high tech tea tray.



    if they manage to not make it look like shit as in the sony's I am all for it but as is aluminum hands down.
  • Reply 30 of 127
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


    Carbon is not exactly in short supply. There are CF recovery systems if we start to run short.



    I think his concern is about waste and the value of recycling that waste, not about carbon being plentiful.
  • Reply 31 of 127
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by daniel9ds View Post


    I am a newbie here and just wanna say Hi to everyone. I am Daniel from Pennsylvania, US.





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    Welcome to AI Dan, enjoy your stay here.
  • Reply 32 of 127
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 801 View Post


    I think that SJ's problem with 7" ipads will turn out to be a red herring.



    7 Inch devices are the key to most of Apple's competitors. The reason is simple, Apple's iPad doesn't encroach on it's smaller iOS devices. Most of Apple's competitors can't compete with the smaller iOS devices. That means that if everyone else sticks to 7 inch devices, they can clean up sales from both ends of Apple products.



    Unfortunately, I love my Mac too much to give it an android based companion. /bummer
  • Reply 33 of 127
    Aluminum back 138 grams

    Battery 148 grams

    LCD 153 grams

    Glass (and frame) 193 grams

    Speaker: 17 grams

    Main board: 21 grams

    Everything else: 27 grams



    Looks to me as though the Al is relatively a very small factor in the weight of the iPad...



    That said, I own a magnesium electric bike an it's the lightest electric bike around - sure would like to see a Mg laptop first hand, not sure if it would work with apple's designs though!
  • Reply 34 of 127
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I think his concern is about waste and the value of recycling that waste, not about carbon being plentiful.



    Some types of carbon fiber and fabrics are in short supply, it would just depend on what fiber is chosen. The basic concept in the patent is not novel, but application to computer frames probably is. Unless Apple can come up with an automated lay-up and molding procedure the cost of these type backs would be really high. There is probably 4 or 5 dollars worth of materials in these backs, but the molding and lay-up costs could be pretty high.
  • Reply 35 of 127
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by oseame View Post


    Aluminum back 138 grams

    Battery 148 grams

    LCD 153 grams

    Glass (and frame) 193 grams

    Speaker: 17 grams

    Main board: 21 grams

    Everything else: 27 grams



    Looks to me as though the Al is relatively a very small factor in the weight of the iPad...



    That said, I own a magnesium electric bike an it's the lightest electric bike around - sure would like to see a Mg laptop first hand, not sure if it would work with apple's designs though!



    A battery fire in a Mg framed laptop may be very interesting indeed.
  • Reply 36 of 127
    When I suggested the use of Carbon Fiber, a few months back when rumors of the Air redesign, people jumped down my neck because of Carbon's poor wireless "transmission" capabilities.



    So,

    Bluetooth, Wireless N, GPS, and other possible radio's,

    have no issue's with Carbon?
  • Reply 37 of 127
    It's nice to see that Apple has been listening to some of the sailboat builders about construction ideas.
  • Reply 38 of 127
    jon tjon t Posts: 131member
    Seems to me that Apple has no choice but to file these types of patents, more to protect themselves from all the gold diggers who would use them to attack them were they in possession of them...
  • Reply 39 of 127
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,787member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


    No, we have already debunked that piece of nonsense in previous threads, both in terms of extremely high cost and it being a heavy material.



    As for this ridiculous patent application. If the patent office are silly enough to grant it, it would get rolled in a court challenge due to prior art. Boat building springs immediately to mind where cloth is wrapped over a PU foam form to make a skin and stiffening member a contiguous structure. Pretty sure it has been done in sailplanes for decades. as well.







    Carbon is not exactly in short supply. There are CF recovery systems if we start to run short.



    Don't be so sure. The patent process is more complex than you think. Anyone may take one or more patented concepts from anyone else, and roll them into another one, as long as doing so provides either a new use, or a noticeable improvement over the old patent.
  • Reply 40 of 127
    @"Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs quieted those rumors < 7-inch iPad> in October, when he said a 7-inch tablet is too small for most consumers."



    I don't suppose there have been any instances in the past of SJ intentionally leading the hounds off the scent?



    Now let me count 'em....
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