October 7, 2008
Is it April 1? Is this cool or crazy? Firstly, this is of course idle gossip. Secondly, numeric control machines have been around for ‘yonks’, so carving a block of aluminium is not news. Fluid-flowed aluminium is newer but again not news. Thirdly, it can only carve the case, anyway. So why would this be a game changer? It’s not.
Seth Weintraub a blogger at 9to5Mac.com claims that Apple has invented a new manufacturing process for MacBooks that will result in the product being manufactured from a coplete block of aluminum. He writes “It is totally revolutionary, a game changer. One of the biggest Apple innovations in a decade. 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 and jets of water to carve the MacBooks out of a brick of aluminum.
And best of all, why is it so grand to waste precious resources like this? An expensive aluminium block (what is often called ‘congealed electricity’ because it uses so much in its manufacture) is presumably cast, then ‘carved’, leaving a lot of wasted off-cuts. Sure, it can be re-melted and re-cast, but why increase waste, especially when electricity generation and aluminium production are so heavily linked with carbon emissions?
The only advantage here is that you end up with a nice one-piece (or maybe 2 piece?) aluminium case. Form Apple’s point of view that may be cool, and it may even save some bucks if the carbon offsets aren’t made. Otherwise it’s not cool at all.