RUMOR: Apple investigating use of carbon fiber in quest for even lighter weight for MacBook Air

“Apple enthusiastically claimed ownership to the world’s thinnest notebook earlier this year with the introduction of the MacBook Air, but is rumored to be unsatisfied with the system’s weight, which it now hopes to drop below 3 pounds,” Kasper Jade reports for AppleInsider.

“As such, people who’ve proven familiar with the company’s portable plans say the Mac maker has been looking into substituting carbon fiber parts for certain structural components currently cast from heavier aircraft-grade aluminum,” Jade reports.

“Apple is reportedly looking to adopt the material for only a portion of Air’s enclosure. The Cupertino-based firm is extremely proud of the notebook’s precision unibody upper chassis, which it mills from a single extruded block of aluminum. While no changes have been proposed for this component, those familiar with ongoing R&D efforts say the company is hoping to replacing the Air’s lower aluminum case, or bottom cover, with one constructed from carbon fiber,” Jade reports.

More in the full article here.

25 Comments

  1. Of course they will use carbon fiber. The Macbook, MBP and MBA are all monocoque designs. Look at Formula1 racecars. They used to use aluminum monocoques, now they use carbon fiber. Apple is calling the new manufacturing process “unibody” but it is really a monocoque. While they won’t go away from aluminum for the chassis, I can easily see them going to carbon for the top lid, to improve the balance in the MBA. If you’ve tried a MBA, you’d know the screen is a touch top-heavy. They could improve this somewhat by lightening the lid by using carbon fiber. No big deal, but this is an obvious sequence. You only need look at other areas to see where this is going.

  2. Having a carbon fiber lower enclosure may not be as tough as the aluminum one, but it does absorb shock somewhat better. If you drop you aluminum MacBook Air it may not crack on the bottom, like a carbon Fiber one may possibly do, but the internal components will be more likely to suffer damage from the shock of the impact. Just my take; also if they moved the wifi antenna to the lower extremity v.s. behind the screen, there may be some signal benifit. At the end of the day, Apple knows best what is right for the world. So if they decide to do it then It must be the right idea.

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