Rumor: Apple to laser-cut MacBook Pro cases from aluminum bricks

Thinner. Screwless. Perfect heat-dissipation. Free from the design compromises imposed by traditional machining processes. 9-5 Mac reports that Apple's forthcoming "Brick," hitherto a conceptual blank canvas on which to project any fantasy, is in fact a new aluminum-cutting process:

The MacBook manufacturing process up to this point has been outsourced to Chinese or Taiwanese manufacturers like Foxconn. Now Apple is in charge. The company has spent the last few years building an entirely new manufacturing process that uses lasers (w/o sharks) and jets of water to carve the MacBooks out of a brick of aluminum.

It's anonymously-sourced, but has a the mundanity of truth about it, eh? Apple: able to make anything sexy, even industrial milling!

The 'Brick' is... [9-5]

Published by Rob Beschizza

Follow Rob @beschizza on Twitter.

Join the Conversation

14 Comments

  1. Anything to make carrying an overpriced MBP more pretentious I guess. Seriously though? Laser cutting from a brick of metal? I doubt that. The energy alone for this manufacturing process would push the prices of MBP’s even higher than their already sky high rate. Add to that the source of the energy for laser cutting would surely come from a coal fired Chinese power plant, you can just be sure that this laptop really destroys the planet.

  2. I always love when someone says his/her opinion like they know that for fact.

    (Oh, I don’t want to register, that’s why I’m “Anonymous”. My name is Leonard, if you must know.)

  3. I wonder… this seems likely to improve durability, and might improve overheating if that’s the goal. I’ve been pretty annoyed by my MBP’s huge heat output, although since moving to Chicago it’s seeming like more of a blessing than a curse.

  4. It’s probably milled alu, but not from a solid brick, most likely from a cast part. As for lasers, it’s probably a surface prep or finish procedure. The water jets can cut through thin non-ferrous metals just fine. But there’s a finish problem when cutting with water. So maybe it’s back to lasers for that purpose.

    As for the heat, the only way you’re going to get rid of it is through internal venting and heat sink design. Maybe they’re integrating heat sinks into the case?

  5. “…lasers, (w/o sharks)…”

    Surely the only the coolest production line would use lasers with sharks.

  6. From what I understand, the use of lasers in metalworking is nothing terribly new, novel, or even necessarily expensive. Any sort of metalwork will be done by an external contractor — metallurgy is still a bit of a black art, and requires tons of experience to get right.

    My guess is that the “brick” simply means a new macbook with squared-off edges.

    As far as production costs go, I imagine that Apple have certainly gotten their money’s worth out of the current MBP design, as they’ve been using it for nearly 6 years across that half of their product line. I have to imagine that this kept the per-unit production and design costs extremely low.

  7. …When I hear of a process like this, I’m reminded of the old WB cartoon where they show you how toothpicks are made – one tree lathed down to one single pick!

  8. Perfect heat-dissipation… into my lap 🙁

    I long for the day when using a laptop will not result in unduly warm skin.

  9. Holy shit! Read this article. If Apple were to actually build a/or a couple of manufacturing plant/s, in the U.S., that produced its/their on power, ran clean, and provided jobs for people in the U.S. it would astonishing. And wonderful.

    But what a great use of Apple’s massive capital. And what a legacy Jobs would leave.

    If I prayed, it would be for this. And for Obama to win.

  10. @ DOGGO: Maybe we could get Craig Venter to fuse Jobs’ and Obama’s DNA to form the Supreme Being. But then you know that Venter couldn’t resist placing a few hunks of his own DNA in there and that’d mess everything up.

  11. What is the “new” part? nothing described is even close to “new”. even waterjet and laser cutting is ~20 years old

  12. The last product Apple built was the xServe, and the in-house production team couldn’t ramp the thing for love nor money (good thing demand was and is very small) — given a month to turn things around, things didn’t and Apple’s last production line (in Elk Grove, CA) was closed.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *