Apple's Brick rumored to be new manufacturing process

Speculation abounds as "insider" hints at manufacturing process that uses lasers and water-jets to carve a single block of aluminum into a MacBook chassis.

The rumor mills have been running at full capacity to figure out the mystery behind a new Apple product called the MacBook Brick. Over at 9to5mac an (undisclosed and unspecified) Apple insider revealed that the Brick is in fact a new manufacturing process. This new manufacturing process is based around using lasers and water-jets to carve a single block of aluminum into a MacBook chassis.

The rumor is plausible, given Steve Jobs's history with innovative manufacturing techniques. In 1990 Jobs built a factory run on robots and lasers for creating NeXT machines, but the demand at the time for this process just wasn't enough to sustain it. Jobs was quoted at the time as saying, "I'm as proud of the factory as I am of the computer."

So could the Brick manufacturing process be the continuation of that part of Jobs' dream? And what does this manufacturing process mean to us, the consumers? It could mean a lot actually. Since the MacBook chassis would be carved there wouldn't be any need for bending the metal, which can often create weak points for breakage. And since the chassis would be a single piece of aluminum there would be no seams making for an overall smoother MacBook. And most importantly, while the factory to take advantage of the Brick process might be expensive, the process itself is relatively cheap, meaning that the MacBooks produced will cost less while still being more durable.

9to5mac reports that Apple is on track to announce the newly designed MacBooks on October 14, so at least it looks like we won't need to wait long to see if this rumor is true. Apple hasn't announced anything yet, so take all of this with a grain of salt, but to me this rumor seems a bit too oddly specific to not have some truth to it.

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Scott Nichols

PC World (US online)
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