Apple has posted a new job listing for a Manufacturing Design Engineer with a focus in Advanced Plastic Tooling and Process. The job description says Apple is planning to expand and improve its plastics division.
From the job listing, via MacRumors:
Identify, develop and launch new tooling and process capabilities in support of new Apple product developments. Areas of focus will be “non-traditional” Apple plastic processing such as thermoforming, foam molding, blow molding, etc., and their application to new Apple products. The successful candidate will have demonstrated history of bringing new process and tooling technologies through a full development cycle and launch into high volume production.
Though recent product lines have seen Apple rely heavily on Aluminum, the company has continued to use plastic in such products as the Apple TV, the Airport Extreme, keyboards, and other accessories.
Recent rumors have Apple working on a low-cost iPhone that will be constructed primarily of plastic. It is unlikely however that a new hire would find themselves involved in that project, given the rumored release later this year. The open position does however, hint that Apple will be focusing on novel uses of plastic in future products.