updated 04:00 pm EST, Tue November 15, 2011
Wistron develops exotic material for ultrabook PCs
Contract supplier Wistron is developing a new material to help ultrabook makers who have been finding new materials for their designs after being squeezed by Apple. The firm's president Robert Hwang was working with a new notebook chassis partner to create a new material to use as a substitute, he told local news outlet Apple Daily. It wouldn't have connections either to metal or to substitutes that have been used in its place, such as carbon fiber or fiberglass.
He stressed that the new partner wouldn't conflict with Catcher and Ju Teng, the other two chassis companies Wistron considers partners. The joint venture would be started in earnest in early 2012.
Apple is known to place a strong emphasis on supply and is now thought to have possibly cornered the ultrabook market through foresight that most of its rivals have lacked. By having a better knowledge of how much supply it will need and committing to production significantly in advance, it booked aluminum chassis supply that's either denied or loses some of its economy of scale.
Acer and ASUS both use aluminum heavily in the Aspire S3 and Zenbook series, but neither has had a chance to compete significantly on price with the MacBook Air.