In the late 1990s, Motorola was one of the first companies to raise the profile of aluminum in consumer electronics by featuring the metal in its Razr line of phones. It was Apple's Steve Jobs, however, who took the use of aluminum to the next level by making it a staple in his firm's laptops, iPads and iPhones. Jobs was such a fan that he even commissioned a yacht made out of aluminum.
A story in Metal Bulletin noted, "Jobs changed the face of consumer electronics and with it the consumer's perception of aluminium." Apple's use of aluminum in its products, especially phones and laptops, has caused a ripple effect across the electronics industry.
HTC recently released its phone, the One, which has an aluminum body, and Nokia will soon follow suit with the Catwalk. Samsung, which has traditionally stuck with plastic for its design, may soon break into the aluminum world to stay competitive. A recent Time online article suggests consumers prefer aluminum because it distinguishes the phone as higher-end.
The ripple effect is true for laptops as well. More companies are following Apple's example and using aluminum in their designs instead of plastic or painted metal. The new Google Chromebook Pixel, a competitor to the Macbook unibody series, uses a machined aluminum body. Samsung and now Sony are producing aluminum laptops as well.
Apple led the charge using aluminum in consumer electronics, and the effects can be seen across a range of products today. Aluminum is increasingly viewed as a cornerstone of modern design.