Apple patent application reveals lighter materials, new construction methods for portables

“On December 1, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new two-fold invention,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“The invention, which is likely a part of an extensive internal research project, is centered on both the use of new light weight and flexible materials for portable devices like the iPad and MacBook Pro and the method of constructing said devices,” Purcher reports. “I doubt very much that this is something that’s just around the corner, but Apple’s multiple patents on this topic of new materials and processes are every increasing.”

Purcher reports, “One of the odd notes in the patent covers how the sandwich construction could be used for other non-electronic applications, such as storage boxes, luggage, non-digital cameras, and other applications that may require lightweight, high flexural rigidity casing.”

Much more in the full article, including Apple’s patent application illustrations, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lava_Head_UK” for the heads up.]


  1. The new patent concerns taking what could be said to be a lightweight shell (like the Aluminum stamped MBPro housings of 2006).

    Then they put the circuit board assembly in it and pot/bond the board in place to the shell achieve a monocoque construction to stiffen up the thin aluminum.

    We are heading to a non-servicable laptop with this construction. That is not necessarily bad as I haven’t had a laptop board fail ever.

    It may also improve the heat dissipation of the microprocessor and other heat producing components with better thermal transfer to the aluminum shell.

  2. Off the subject. MDN please put a “back” button on the iPad app. It would be great to have after we click a link and want to return exactly where we left off, mainly while reading comments.

  3. I have read the linked article. Sandwich construction is older than I am. Hardly revolutionary.
    They would do better to look at how Abalone shell is created.
    Which incidently is also a composite construction, but rather cleverer.

    1. Did someone say it was revolutionary? No. The focus is on the mix of materials to form the sandwich. 90% of PC and handheld devices in the market are only plastic. So is that revolutionary? No. So at least Apple is trying to bring new materials into the market. Look at all the MacBook Air copycats there are going thin with metal.

      If it wasn’t for Apple pushing the market into real smartphones and smarttablets, there would be very little innovation in the market today.

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