What next for Laptop and Notebook packaging?

Over the years, various forms of laptop and Notebook packaging have been employed by manufacturers. Traditionally, a relatively normal box, perhaps one that is elaborately printed with enticing graphics combined with a die-cut cardboard fitting, envelopes the laptop. This will protect the device from damage in transit but where is the innovation?

However, as laptops – like smartphones and tablets – continually get slimmer and lighter, new packaging ideas are being considered. Steve Jobs once famously debuted the MacBook Air in 2008 by unveiling it from a manila office envelope. This genius presentation tactic visually expressed the achievement better than any combination of words could do. But that was a long time ago now. Will laptop packaging ever be as thin as that teased by the late Apple figurehead? The reality is that laptop and note book outer packaging must be protective as well as practical when items are often being shipped overseas or transported across large land distances.

It could be possible that, in the future, manufacturers may start packaging their laptops in carbon fibre or anodised aluminium transit cases, which the consumer can then also use as a case when travelling. Such a case would be a win–win for both manufacturer and consumer, as it means the very packaging that the laptop is supplied in could be continually reused throughout the life cycle of the device and then recycled with the device.

As for other lower cost packaging concepts, the future remains to be seen. Laptops might be getting progressively thinner with each generation – HP have just released a model with a depth of just 10.4mm – but let’s remember that, with increased slenderness, there comes an increased risk of damage, the critical components are very close to the outside surfaces. We like the efficiency of multi-size packaging whereby the pack is designed to house a range of similar sized laptops or notebooks, with the option of the packaging even being reused or easily recycled.

Ironically it is now the mains power adaptor that is beginning to govern the size of these packages, they can often be as thick or thicker than the computer itself. In the case of 3 pin plugs (UK, HK etc), as we have highlighted recently, a large amount of additional cubic space must be provided in order to accommodate the mains plug. It would be good to see more innovation here from the manufacturers, not only in the devices themselves.