New Apple Hiring Indicates Shift from Aluminum to Carbon Fiber for Future Devices

Image courtesy of 9to5 Mac

Image courtesy of 9to5 Mac

The hiring of a Senior Composites Engineer at Apple has fuelled more speculation that the company could move away from aluminum for building future devices, choosing to use carbon fiber instead. Kevin Kenny began work at the Cupertino campus this month after spending 14 years building carbon fiber bicycles for Kestral Bicycles, where he was the President and CEO.

This isn’t the first time Kenny has worked with Apple; a patent called “Reinforced Device Housing” filed by the company in 2009 had Kenny’s name on it, and depicted an outer casing for electronic devices made from ultra-strong carbon fiber. The patent reveals Kenny was clearly working with Apple for a long time before he became a full-time employee.

New Apple Hiring Indicates Shift from Aluminum to Carbon Fiber for Future Devices

By using carbon fiber for future devices, Apple could create products that weigh significantly less than the aluminum and stainless steel devices they produce today; while maintaining the strength and durability we’ve all become accustom to.

In 2008, it was rumored that Apple would use carbon fiber to replace the aluminum housing on the MacBook Air to make the notebook even lighter. These rumors were obviously a little premature, but with today’s news we won’t rule out a carbon fiber MacBook Air altogether. It certainly sounds like perfect material to enhance the lightweight device.

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  • KillianBell

    Aseem, your comment has been moderated to remove the link to your blog – which makes it look like spam.

    Killian

  • jnjnjn2

    Carbon fiber is very easy to scratch, as anyone with a bicycle made (in part) of carbon fiber knows. Its basically a big pencil when you touch the road.
    So it’s totally unsuitable to make an outer case of carbon fibre.
    It is suitable to make a rigid frame, but experience learns that combining carbon fibre with aluminum (metal) is very difficult. In the long run the ‘lugs’ (the place where carbon meets metal) develop a ‘creep’ and thats very annoying and possibly dangerous.

    Apples liquid metal is much more promising because its lighter than aluminum (but possibly not as light as carbon can be) and much easier to work with and much more scratch proof.
    Especially mass production is difficult with carbon, but very easy to do with liquid metal.

    J.

  • prof_peabody

    there are so many errors in this article. first he isn’t a “new hire” since as the article notes he’s been working with them since 2008/2009. second, he still *is* the president of Kestral Bicycles, as the insert from his profile in the same article makes clear. third, he can’t be a “full time employee” of Apple as again, he’s still president of his own firm.

  • prof_peabody

    liquid metal is NOT lighter than aluminium. It is scratch proof though.

  • Mike Rathjen

    Too bad, I like the look and feel of aluminum and stainless steel.

    Real metal will always be in style.

  • Chris Malone

    Thank you for doing this in a lot of comments.

  • CharliK

    I would hardly call this proof that they are shifting. Rather than simply willing to investigate the possibility. an investigation, which like most of their patents, will never go anywhere real. At least not by Apple

  • CharliK

    given that it has nada to do with the article, why leave any of it in.

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About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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