The term “brick” was mentioned in a 9-to-5 Mac rumor piece on 10 September 2008 when their source said that the MacBook update is “all about the Brick.” 9-to-5 Mac now claims that the "brick" isn't a specific Apple product but rather a manufacturing process that uses lasers and jets of water to carve MacBooks out of a solid mass of aluminum (a.k.a. a "brick").
Jon Gruber previously noted that a new lineup of MacBooks will be released on 14 October 2008, one week from today. BusinessWeek today throws some fuel on the fire by speculating that Apple's radical new laptop will be announced in a week, and that 9-to-5 Mac's brick thoery is supported by Apple's patent filings:
Apple declined to comment on its plans, but the company has made patent filings related to the design of notebook enclosures. In May 2007, it filed for a patent on a design for "enclosure parts that are structurally bonded together to form a singular composite structure.… That is particularly useful in portable computing devices such as laptop computers."
An entirely new manufacturing process could be what Apple’s Peter Oppenheimer (CFO) referred to as a “product transition” will cut profit margins to help shut out rivals during his Apple’s Q3 2008 earnings conference call with analysts. BW adds that the transition is among the reasons Apple said it expects to make lower gross profit margins.
If this is the case, Apple probably isn't building the new "brick" machines here in the U.S. Although Apple announced plans for a new campus in Cupertino, CA two years ago to support its growing workforce, it's two years behind schedule. Kevin Keller, an analyst at market research firm iSuppli adds "If they're doing this at all, there is no doubt in my mind that it would have to happen in Asia," Keller says.