Apple's iPad is one of the most popular tablets in recent memory, but one common complaint about the device is that it's more than a little heavy, especially for one-handed use. A newly discovered patent, called "Reinforced Device Housing," reveals that Apple may address the weight issue by making the back of the iPad out of carbon fiber rather than aluminum found on current models. Carbon fiber is known to be a pretty light and strong material, but it can also be pretty easily cracked if bent or rolled the wrong way. Apple's answer to this problem is to either layer the carbon fiber or implement a spine or frame, like the title of the patent suggests.
It's tough to say one way or the other whether or not Apple will actually use this patent in their next iPad. After all, it seems like a great idea and it would certainly make the iPad lighter. On the other hand, Apple patents a lot of stuff, and it's not like they actually use everything that's patented. Plus, the patent was filed back on May 18, 2009, and a lot may have changed since then. Apple acquired the rights to LiquidMetal's tech, which is a hybrid material that's strong and non-corrosive like stainless steel, but also easy to flex and cast like plastic. If I had to choose, I think the LiquidMetal tech would be pretty awesome to have on an iPad. There's no indication just yet that that'll actually happen, but it could be great if it did.