Forget about Liquidmetal: Apple is said to be ordering parts made of carbon fiber and these are allegedly for a mysterious new product. A Japanese supplier has apparently been commissioned to deliver carbon fiber items, but quantities are said to far surpass what constitutes a sample.

Coincidentally or not, Apple’s patent filings indicate that the company has been researching carbon-fiber enclosures for quite some time. Now, imagine if you a will a carbon fiber-clad iOS device which doesn’t get easily scratched and is even more lightweight than your Unibody aluminum iPhone 5…

Japanese blog Macotakara, which has a fairly accurate track record, sourced the story from an anonymous source (machine-translated):

According to the sources, visit the company around March 2012, with carbon technology in the Aichi Prefecture of Foxconn Technology engineers and Apple, you seem to have commissioned the production of sample.

The report goes on to note that Apple ordered carbon fiber samples from an unnamed Japanese company which reportedly started production in March.

MacRumors has contributed with a better translation:

According to my source, some engineer of Apple and Foxconn Technology came on Japanese company, which has carbon production in mid-March, and they requested to develop some sample.

I don’t have information which is ordered by Apple, source told the number of parts is too large to be called “sample”.

Apple in 2010 was awarded a patent on improved composite materials, hinting the company was researching the use of carbon-fiber composites in electronic devices. Another patent filed in 2009 describes reinforced device housing via carbon fiber reinforced plastic.

And in April of 2011, Apple hired carbon fiber bicycle engineer Kevin Kenney as its Senior Composites Engineer. According to his LinkedIn profile, Kevin was a consultant for Apple for the past few years. He also ran his own startup called Kestrel Bicycles and worked for Everest & Jennings and Cycle Composites, Inc.

Carbon fiber consists of fibers about 5–10 μm in diameter, composed mostly of carbon atoms bonded together in crystals for strength. Several thousand carbon fibers get bundled together to form a tow which often gets combined with other materials to form a composite.

A MacBook Pro with carbon fiber stickers. via Blogspot.

Carbon fiber composites are lightweight and popular for their high stiffness, high tensile strength, low weight, high chemical resistance, high temperature tolerance and low thermal expansion.

The aforementioned treats mean that carbon fiber would lend itself well to iOS devices, which in their latest iteration are made out of aluminum and glass.

If anything, these patents and hirings indicate Apple could be shifting from aluminum to composites.

So, what do you guys think?

Will we see carbon fiber on future iOS devices?

I think we will.

  • Kurt

    iPad mini

    • Johnathan Jennings

      Doesn’t exist.

      • @dongiuj


  • Lighter iPhone 5? iPhone 5S? “S” for slimmer?

    • Johnathan Jennings

      I don’t know how you could make it any slimmer.. I’m on mine now and it already feels like it’ll break in half if you drop it

    • WeebSurfer

      iPhone 5LS (Less Scratchy).

    • “SR” Superman resistance 😀

    • Already??

    • Oh, I though “S” stand for sh**. Lol #TrollFace.

  • ipad4

    • Liu Zhenyu

      They would name it the newer iPad.

  • new mac pro/air/ipad in the near future

  • imot65

    iBike! Time to sell my Trek Madonne 😛

  • Apple


  • apple badminton racquet~

  • iPad mini? 🙂

  • Oh snapp! Time to sell the ip5 and get ready for the iPhone5CF! Or iPhone 5S (superleggera) lol.

    • Miketyler

      Im sure we will see it plastered all over the net in about a month

  • The Apple Tech Toy aka iPax Mini is coming!!

  • A carbon fiber iPhone would be SICK!

  • thedarkknight80

    iplay : the next generation in handheld gaming .

    4 GPU , 5.5 screen

  • Oh, what can I say?
    Pretty excited!

  • Dan Lopez

    Smells like iPad mini to me. They have to have some sort of selling point because smaller wont attract everybody

  • My thoughts are this will be the replacement to the alluminum that is so scratchable on the iphone. This will be one of the new modifications for next years iphone and possibly other future products coming up. Though Phil said it was normal for their black iphone to scratch…. I think Apple is trying to focus the phone to the point where it will NOT require a case. I’m sure Apple does not want their products all scuffed up for the general public to see how bad they look after a little bit of use or dropping it a couple times. They want to make it almost indestructable to falls from individuals. They want their products VISIBLE not in a case. I think apple will continue to perfect the phone in this area. More visible iPhones (not hidden in a case) more sales I think. Should be interesting what they decide to do with the carbon fiber, and it WILL look nice, no doubt about it.

  • iPads and iPhones with Carbon Fiber would be great! But filing a patent for a carbon fiber housing is weird. A lot of things has carbon fiber in it right now, CF has been widely used before and it would be improper from Apple to sue anyone who produce a CF housing simply because Apple didn’t invented CF. If Apple patents an iphone CF housing then nobody is allowed to copy the design but it doesn’t mean that nobody else can use CF for other housing designs.

  • 4p0c4lyps3

    Well it’s about time. Carbon fiber ftw. Hasn’t Apple learned anything from formula 1?

  • Hope iPhone 6 comes in carbon fiber