Apple is preparing to make its MacBook lineup even thinner by introducing metal injection mold-made (MIM) hinges, according to a new report. The company has reportedly teamed up with a supplier that currently makes hinges for Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablets.
Citing sources in Apple’s supply chain, DigiTimes reports that Apple will launch these “ultra-thin” MacBooks during the second half of 2016. As a result, component makers in Taiwan are now seeing increased competition for related component orders.
“US-based Amphenol has recently joined Apple’s supply chain to supply hinges and is likely to take some orders away from existing partners Shin Zu Shing (SZS) and Jarllytec,” the report adds. Amphenol is the supplier already working with Microsoft on the Surface Pro 4.
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.
DigiTimes adds that Apple’s existing battery suppliers in Taiwan are also seeing competition from rivals in China. It’s thought Desay and Sunwoda Electronics has provided the Cupertino company with samples for testing, but are yet to receive any orders.[DigiTimes via MacRumors]