Next Apple MacBook to be made of carbon fiber?

Reports have emerged claiming that Apple’s next MacBook revamp could bring about a dramatic switch to carbon fiber materials. This would represent the first major design development in the range since 2008.

The MacBook design has remained relatively unchanged – externally that is – for the past four years. Even the super sleek MacBook Pro with Retina display is essentially the same unibody aluminium design as its predecessors, albeit thinner and with an amazing new screen.

According to Macatakara that could be all set to change. The Japanese blog reports that “some engineer of Apple and Foxconn Technology” has put an order in for carbon fiber components from an unnamed Japanese company. Apparently “the number of parts is too large to be called ‘sample’.”

Clearly this is a rumour and a bit of a shot in the dark, but it’s a reasonably educated one. The report mentions an Apple patent published in 2010 for a “housing for an electronic device or other object.” The material for this “Reinforced Device Housing?” None other than a “layered fiber-in-matrix type material, such as CFRP.”

Yep, that means carbon fiber.

The report also points out that Apple counts a certain Kevin Kenney among its employees. Kenney’s previous position was as CEO of Kestrel Bicycles, which made high performance bike frames made from – you guessed it – carbon fiber.

Carbon fiber is known for two things – extreme toughness and extraordinary lightness, hence its usable in Formula 1 cars and professional bike design. Apple would evidently value such properties, as well as the ability to mould the material into very specific and complex shapes.

Will the next MacBook – or perhaps the one after that – be an ultra-light carbon fiber unibody affair?

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