A future version of the iMac could take a more radical form, with Apple considering a redesign of the all-in-one desktop so that it is built with a single curved glass plate with a built-in display.
The iMac is one of many iconic devices designed by Apple, with the all-in-one Mac consisting of a thin display that houses the main components and a small support to keep the display at eye level for the user. While the design has received refinements over the years to make the main screen section thinner and more elegant, Apple is also considering making a more radical change to its design.
In a patent application published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for an ” electronic device with a glass housing ,” Apple is exploring the confines of the iMac by offering one that is actually formed from a single glass plate.
In its basic form, the Mac would consist of the sheet with a curved bottom on one edge, which resides on the desk, is used to hold the input devices, and a larger flat area that would include the built-in display. The glass would form the main support structure to hold the display in place, fixed on the back of the glass, and could feasibly include a connection for an iSight camera in its normal position above the screen.
Since it would be a single piece, the curved part would not be enough to keep the glass upright for normal use. To solve this, Apple proposes the use of a wedge section that supports the glass that adapts to the curved section between the lower part and the main upper panel.
Rather than simply acting as a support, the wedge may have enough volume to accommodate components, such as ports for network connections , peripherals, and power .
The angle of the glass could be adjusted by moving its position against the wedge, making it sit in a higher or lower position, depending on the user’s preference.
To facilitate its configurability, Apple has also proposed that the curve of the glass itself can be adjusted in certain scenarios. Flattening the curve could make the Mac easier to pack or transport.
Another version replaces the single glass plate for two panels that overlap the curve, with the wedge that helps keep the glass vertical in position while the lower part rests against the group. Some versions may even replace the wedge for a separate flat panel, which could be hinged when required.
While the lower section could simply be used as a place to put peripherals, such as a keyboard or mouse, Apple has other ideas for using it. An addition of a slot in the curved section could allow keyboards to slide through it.
Apple makes numerous patent applications on a weekly basis, but while the existence of a filing indicates areas of interest in the company’s research and development efforts, it does not necessarily guarantee that the concepts described will appear in a future product or service.