Carbon Fiber iPad Could Offer Better Reception and Shave Some Weight

A recent Apple patent calls for the shell of the unibody iPad shell to be constructed out of a carbon fiber shell, leading to potential benefits for the user including a reduction in weight as well as better wireless reception. As it stands, Apple’s current and first-generation iPad is constructed from a unibody piece of aluminum, which gives it structural rigidity while at the same time adding weight to the device, which has been a common complaint for users who use the consumer-oriented tablet as an electronic book reader. The new patent at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reveals that the shell would be made “layered fiber-in-matrix type material, such as CFRP,” otherwise known as carbon fiber reinforced polymer. The patent would also called for layered carbon fiber, perhaps in different directions, to strengthen the case. The use of carbon fiber would also help micro-waves penetrate better, improving both WiFi and cellular mobile broadband reception. As it stands, the WiFi-only iPad has its antenna strategically placed behind the plastic Apple logo to help with WiFi reception while maintaining a sleek unibody look while the WiFi + 3G model has its radios placed at top, breaking the shell’s clean look with a thin plastic strip. The proposed patent does not necessarily mean that such a design would go into production, but would give Apple an opportunity to protect its innovation if a design with carbon fiber makes it to market.

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