The iPad is a mighty fine thing. The aluminium back feels great but it also contributes a lot of weight and Apple has long been exploring way to make the iPad lighter. One way could be with carbon fiber. A newly uncovered patent reveals Apple’s approach to making a light but strengthened carbon fiber frame. Will the iPad 2 embrace a carbon fiber future?
The trouble with carbon fiber is that although its light, it’s brittle and can be cracked easily when bent the wrong way. Using traditional carbon fiber for the back of the iPad would be a recipe for something like iPhone 4 glassgate. But Apple’s plan involves a new method of using carbon fiber to create a “reinforced device housing” which could skirt those issues.
The iPad carbon fiber patent was filed in May last year. Since then Apple has purchased the rights to LiquidMetal, a combination of strong and corrosion resistant metals like titanium with the benefits of composites. We may well see LiquidMetal instead of carbon fiber in a future iPad but it certainly looks like lumpy old aluminium could be on the way out.