Apple May Bring Carbon Fiber to the iPad
If you though the iPad was sleek and light as a feather, just wait until you get a load of the second-generation iPad. If reports published today prove accurate, the next iPad to reach consumers could be pretty incredible. In fact, traders and financial analysts on Wall Street are already reacting to the news that Apple is said to be considering the use of carbon fiber to produce the housing for its popular line of iDevices, but most likely for the iPad.
To be clear, this isn't a rumor or an un-sourced speculation. The suggestion comes directly from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Freshly published images indicate Apple's model for an iPad shell composed of "layered fiber-in-matrix type material, such as CFRP," which, in reality, is carbon fiber-reinforced polymer. The most noticeable consequence of making the move to carbon fiber, of course, would be an even lighter iPad, as the presently utilized aluminum encasing would be gone.
Are there disadvantages to a carbon fiber encasement? Yes. The iPad could possibly be much more prone to cracking or damage given the less sturdy foundation of the device's housing. But if the patent is being studied correctly by outside parties, it would appear that Apple has solved for much of these concerns by having the fibers run in opposite directions, lending as much sturdiness as possible to this incredibly lightweight model.
It isn't yet clear when a second generation iPad will be introduced, but many believe Spring 2011 would be the absolute soonest.