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Apple job posting fuels 'plastic low-cost iPhone' rumors

updated 01:08 am EST, Thu January 31, 2013

Also hints at 'novel' uses for plastic in future products

Apple has posted a pair of new job listings in the last week that suggest the company will be making further use of plastics in future products, supporting rumors that have circulated about the company producing a lower-cost iPhone that would prominently feature plastic in the body of the device. The job listings themselves suggest Apple is looking more for engineers that can help it push forward in "non-traditional" ways of using, shaping and controlling the material on behalf of suppliers as well as itself.

Although the company is known for its industry-inspiring use of metal and glass, the company continues to use plastic for an array of other product such as its Airport and Apple TV products. It also uses plastic in parts of other products like the Magic Mouse and cables, keyboard keys and power cords among others.

In its earlier posting for a "Tooling Engineer" in plastics, the company described the position as leading "the development of new plastic injection tooling projects" and helping "Apple suppliers to design and produce world-class plastic tooling" as well as "take a leading role in driving the improvement of productivity and quality of plastic part manufacturing" as well as other duties. On Wednesday, the company added a position for a Manufacturing Design Engineer specializing in advanced plastic tooling and process.

The successful candidate would "identify, develop and launch new tooling and process capabilities in support of new Apple product developments." Given that the rumors of a lower-cost, plastic-based iPhone have the device launching later this year, it is unlikely that these positions would have anything to do with such a unit and instead will focus on allowing Apple to make new and better plastic-based accessories to help support existing and new products in the same way it presently does. Both positions mention travel to Asia as part of the duties.

The listings may also lead to speculation that Apple is working on new manufacturing processes to use plastic in ways not usually considered. Several years ago, Apple licensed the exclusive rights to Liquidmetal technology to use in parts found in iPhones and other devices, but to date has not leveraged the technology extensively. It is possible that the company is turning to innovative plastic tooling techniques to supplement existing and future Liquidmetal uses.





by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. juehoe

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-31-13

    What if "plastic" means "high-end"?

    We should also consider that a "plastic" iPhone could be the next high-end model with a carbon shell (or similar)…?

  1. thewebdrives

    Administrator

    Joined: 06-28-07

    are you sure

    About this?

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    comment title

    Guess liquid metal might be out the picture or, this could be a preview to LQMT

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    People are shopping the same...

    Prices are a HUGE factor and people are learning ways to save, because they need to, and information is spreading. That is why crApple in a darkening pit. They will need that money in the bank to ride it through until they innovate again, maybe another 5 years, maybe 10. Who knows, but it's time to jump ship while you can.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by thewebdrivesView Post

    About this?



    What?

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by blahblahbberView Post

    Prices are a HUGE factor and people are learning ways to save, because they need to, and information is spreading. That is why crApple in a darkening pit. They will need that money in the bank to ride it through until they innovate again, maybe another 5 years, maybe 10. Who knows, but it's time to jump ship while you can.



    Your auto-rant generator is broken. It's stringing together unrelated blocks of text and posting them to threads that contradict half of what does make sense.

    Everybody is saving money - I assume you mean consumers.
    This thread is about Apple investing into creating cheaper products, presumably at the same margins (as they're looking to reduce manufacturing cost).

    So Apple responding perfectly to what you suggest is the situation means they are a "darkening pit" and everybody needs to "jump ship".

    Do you have a monkey string together text block talking points based on occurrence of certain trigger phrases?

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    Originally Posted by blahblahbberView Post

    Prices are a HUGE factor and people are learning ways to save, because they need to, and information is spreading. That is why crApple in a darkening pit. They will need that money in the bank to ride it through until they innovate again, maybe another 5 years, maybe 10. Who knows, but it's time to jump ship while you can.




    I honestly don't think you understand Apple. Innovative lulls are not darkening pits, they are a natural part of what they do entails. You might say they are a darkening pit of their intention was to capture and maintain as much marketshare as possible, but this has never been the case.

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