Apple Expected to Use Metal Injection Mold-Made Hinges for Ultra-Thin MacBooks

Apple is expected to revamp the rest of its notebook lineup around ultra-thin MacBook models later this summer, which poses questions regarding the future of the existing MacBook Air lineup as Apple’s thinnest notebooks. In a new report Friday, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes cited local component makers as saying that they are starting to see increasing competition for related component orders ahead of a rumored launch of “new ultra-thin MacBooks in the second half of 2016.”

“To achieve an ultra-thin design, Apple’s new MacBooks adopt metal injection molding-made (MIM) hinges,” reads the article. Metal injection molding results in much smaller and more precise components than the traditional metal production techniques, an important feat for ultra-thin devices like Apple’s notebooks where space is at premium.

Apple uses MIM components in a number of products already, but they are typically found inside devices like the iPhone and the MacBook. However, using the same manufacturing technique to create hinges would allow Apple to make them significantly smaller.

In turn, Apple could reduce the thickness of its devices without compromising the strength and durability of the hinge that holds the MacBook together.

Conventional wisdom has it that the forthcoming Apple notebooks will utilize Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C, the latter having made its debut in Apple products on the 12-inch MacBook Air, and run Intel’s refreshed Skylake platform.

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