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Apple Building a New Product Made of Carbon Fiber

Apple's new MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Source: Apple’s new MacBook Pro with Retina Display | Official Website

Apple reportedly ordered a large number of parts made of carbon fiber last Wednesday. The report, which was published by Japanese tech blog Macotakara, indicated that the orders may lead to a new product.

Citing an anonymous source, the iPhone maker requested carbon fiber samples from a Japanese company. In addition, the supplier is said to have started producing the lightweight material since mid-March.

Although what the company ordered remains unknown, there were claims that the number of parts ordered were too many to be called a sample.

Carbon Composite Mold Design and Many More

Previous reports have detailed Apple’s interest in carbon fiber in a number of patent filing. One such filing has something to do with MacBook housings.

Titled as Carbon Composite Mold Design, the patent filing details how the company might manufacture parts made of carbon fiber. This would help them come up with an “aesthetically pleasing” device component.

Earlier this month, the company was granted a patent for a carbon-molding process. This process could be used in producing parts such as laptop casing or mobile device chassis. As stated on the patent’s background:

As but one example, it would be particularly helpful if portable electronic device housings and components could be stronger and more durable than what is now typically provided in plastic parts that are formed via ordinary plastic injection molding processes. In particular, it would be beneficial if laptops, notebook computers, and other relatively large and heavy portable computing devices could have outer housings that are better able to protect the entire device from drops and other mechanical shocks.

The process of molding carbon fiber casing can be useful, since there is an increasing demand for slim and sleek portable devices with relatively large screens in the industry. For example, the weight of the next-generation iPhone with larger 4-inch screen can be offset by a carbon fiber monocoque.

Another patent filing was made last year, describing how the lightweight material can help make a lighter and stronger iPad. In fact, the patent application comes with illustrations that show a rear shell akin to iPad. Currently, the new iPad’s shell features a single billet of aluminum. This increases the weight of the device, although the component significantly improves it rigidity.

On the other hand, Apple’s new iPhone 5 is 20 percent lighter than its predecessor, due to the changes on its metal back. The iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S features a glass back, which adds weight to the device.

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