Apple Applies for Patent for Slimmer iPad; May be Moulded from Synthetic Rigid CFRP Frame

Written By Sam on 23 November 2010

The iPad is a tablet that seems to have a lot going for it except for one small niggling point, which is its bloated look and its weight. The aluminum unibody seems to contribute partly to the weight but it is the innards which form a bulk of the weight.

Now, Apple seems to have taken the feedback from users rather seriously and appears to have filed for a patent that should result in a slimmer and sleeker and obviously lighter svelte iPad. There are no direct indications of such a move but indirect inferences can be drawn from the news that the US Patent and Trademark Office issues a patent on November 18 for a “Reinforced Device Housing” to Apple. Obviously there is no direct reference to the iPad in the patent. The illustrations however say in images what words did not as they look suspiciously similar to the iPad.

The patent applied is for “an electronic device or other object” which will be moulded from synthetic rigid CFRP frame or spine over which the skin of CFRP is stretched. Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic or CFRP as it is known, permits very thin but high tensile and high impact strength layers to be formed from fine carbon fibers laid transversely across layers and impregnated with a heatset resin, resulting in a very strong but light and thin cross section shell. Fibers laid in alternating directions result in a rigid but extremely strong structure which is crack resistant as well. Apple may also use other materials such as Kevlar, Spectra and Dyneema which are commonly used matrix materials in fiber reinforced plastics.

How far this modification will work towards producing a slimmer and lighter iPad remains to be seen but one can have hopes from Apple.

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