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Apple Rumored to Use Aluminum "Bricks" as Next Big Thing

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 18 comments

New MacBooks are on the way, that much is certain, but the word on the street is that one crucial new feature comes from a metal brick.

According to 9to5Mac, the MacBook “Brick” is special new manufacturing process by Apple intended for a new chassis for upcoming products. Apple’s new technique involves the use of 3D laser technology and water jets to carve out precise structures from a brick of aluminum.

Creating a chassis in such a manner yields one that is custom crafted, seamless and requires fewer screws and fasten points. It should also be stronger and more rigid, while also being lighter.

Sources say that Apple has supposedly created a new factory specifically for this process. Currently, Apple designs its own products but outsources manufacturing to Chinese companies for the actual production.

While Apple products already set themselves apart with trendy and pleasing designs, the "brick" technology could take it to a whole new level – one that combines both new form with improved function – and setting it further apart from other notebooks.

Such a new manufacturing process may also lend credence to the purportedly leaked MacBook pictures from the summer, which showed an aluminum chassis that wore the logo of just “MacBook.”

Current MacBooks are made of plastic, while the aluminum casings are reserved for the more spendy MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. The new aluminum “brick” process could usher the regular entry-level MacBook into new and improved aluminum casing superior to what’s found in the MacBook line today.

In typical Apple fashion, we’re left speculating on what the next thing from Cupertino will be. No one will know for sure until Steve Jobs unveils the next-generation of MacBooks on stage, but such a media event has yet to be set.

More than one sign points to October 14 as being the unveiling date, which would make sense as the ones on the market today are out of production, and Apple needs something new to sell throughout the holiday season.

Stay tuned.

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  • 1 Hide
    chaohsiangchen , October 6, 2008 1:12 PM
    Quote:
    Apple’s new technique involves the use of 3D laser technology and water jets to carve out precise structures from a brick of aluminum.


    Are they trying to make firearms receivers? I think this is marketing hype possibly from marketing department of Apple Corp. This will be the dumbest way to produce computer chassis, since the process is wasteful on both material and energy. Usually these methods are used to produce parts that requires high precision to endure high mechanical stress. Chances are they are only using these things to create that Apple Corp. logo in the picture. The rest of the chassis is still stamped.
  • 2 Hide
    layzer253 , October 6, 2008 1:54 PM
    Eh, with properly cooled cnc equiptment, your machinery would last quite a while
  • 3 Hide
    frozenlead , October 6, 2008 2:16 PM
    Agree with chao, i do.

    I also never understood what was so "trendy" about all of their laptops. Everyone who has them thinks their so unique...they don't realize that all the laptops Apple makes follows the same design. They don't even come in colors, for god sakes.
  • 0 Hide
    chaohsiangchen , October 6, 2008 2:30 PM
    frozenleadAgree with chao, i do.I also never understood what was so "trendy" about all of their laptops http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/laptop . Everyone who has them thinks their so unique...they don't realize that all the laptops Apple makes follows the same design. They don't even come in colors, for god sakes.


    To be honest, their design feature is never mine style. I prefer good old IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad style which comes in sandblast black surface and angled corners.

    Some people need to feel that they are unique by having certain things that advertised that way.
  • 1 Hide
    jimmysmitty , October 6, 2008 3:11 PM
    Just because Apple says so its the next thing. Gotta love how they believe they set trends....

    Next up, iWear: Clothing from apple in white only. Trendy yet goes with your new aluminum Mac book.
  • 1 Hide
    TwoDigital , October 6, 2008 3:38 PM
    No, the iWear line includes a complete selection of black turtlenecks... with or without a jacket.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , October 6, 2008 4:31 PM
    I believe the term is billet. They have been making car parts (ok, high end custom car parts) this way for years. They take a aluminum brick (called a billet, they also make billets from other materials), and carve it into any shape required. This creates a stronger part then if you poured the aluminum into a mold to make the shape.
  • 2 Hide
    hellwig , October 6, 2008 4:37 PM
    Doesn't the VooDoo Envy come in a solid aluminum chassis? No wait, that's carbon fiber. Anyway, I'm pretty sure a solid aluminum chassis is simply a way for Apple to make it even harder to replace the battery, necessitating a new macbook every 6-12 months when the battery dies. Why do people put up with Apple? Their stuff might be trendy, and they are an even more proprietary alternative to Microsoft, but come on. Their product quality and life expectancy sucks (and no, I don't need stories of how your particular iPod battery still works after 3 years). Every single product they release comes with crappy batteries, and they even tell you on the box (300 charges with the new iPhone 3G), and people still buy this crap.
  • 0 Hide
    DXRick , October 6, 2008 4:54 PM
    All the others chose to use a material that does NOT conduct electricity. Could this be a problem?
  • -1 Hide
    hakesterman , October 6, 2008 5:11 PM
    It's amazing what some companys will do
    just to get attention. Nobody really cares
    what a laptop looks like, we care about what
    software comes with it and how easy it is to
    use and how expandable it is. What does apple
    think? Do they think we drop and drag are
    notebooks on the floor??? All the designs and
    shapes and colors are non factors, give us a break.
  • -1 Hide
    falchard , October 6, 2008 6:25 PM
    Amazing. Apple has discovered Aluminium. I wonder what other triumphs they will unveil. Maybe next week they will talk about thier carbon fiber manufacturing process, where you poor the goop into a mold and bam it comes out in 1 piece everytime.
  • 0 Hide
    chaohsiangchen , October 6, 2008 9:15 PM
    blackz06vette2This creates a stronger part then if you poured the aluminum into a mold to make the shape.


    You don't mass produce things based on that method unless absolutely necessary. Modern Car engines are made from cast aluminum alloy to save cost, but the piston and sleeve are milled and machined from forged steel. The original AK-47 uses milled receiver, and it takes Russians another 10 years to master precision stamping to mass produce AKM/AK-74. All H&K rifles and submachinegun up to G41 and MP5 use stamped/welded receivers.

    Another thing about molding. Molding, if done right, is just as strong as machined parts. Aluminum alloy is tricky, but things are done that way in massive scale. M16 receivers are made by injection molding. The casing of 40mm grenades are also made that way. Since aluminum alloys usually have melting point at about 600-700C, it makes injection molding a good option for making aluminum parts.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 6, 2008 11:09 PM
    I want mine forged and heavily anodized w/ m4 feed ramps and a silicon nickel lined carrier surface!!!!!!!!
  • 1 Hide
    crosshares , October 6, 2008 11:19 PM
    I wonder what happened to make people actually believe the stuff coming from an Apple fansite.



    oh that's why.
  • 1 Hide
    yottabit , October 7, 2008 2:10 AM
    It's just a type of machining. It's nothing new and it sounds exuberantly expensive.

    People are right in calling the "brick" a billet and a billet the size of a laptop will cost a lot of money even in the quantities apple might order.
  • 0 Hide
    crom , October 7, 2008 2:05 PM
    Well obviously Apple is doing something right. They're outselling the other brands in the consumer market. The other brands look to them for innovation.
  • 0 Hide
    chaohsiangchen , October 7, 2008 6:04 PM
    cromWell obviously Apple is doing something right. They're outselling the other brands in the consumer market. The other brands look to them for innovation.


    Get your fact right. Dell is still No.1 and HP is still No.2, followed by Acer, Lenovo and, then is Apple Corp.

    But your right about they're doing something right: overhyping their products, M$-bashing mis-infomercial and Windows-crashing software.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 6, 2011 11:39 AM
    I wonder how retarded everyone in this article must feel now...