Future versions of the iMac could take a more radical form, with Apple considering redesigning the all-in-one desktop to effectively be a curved piece of glass with an embedded display.
The iMac is one of many iconic devices designed by Apple. The all-in-one Mac consists of a thin display that houses the main components and a small stand to hold the display at the user’s eye level. While the design has been improved over the years to make the main screen portion thinner and sleeker, Apple is also mulling more dramatic changes to its design. In a newly granted patent titled “Electronic device with glass enclosure member,” Apple explores the boundaries of the iMac by proposing an iMac that is effectively formed by a single piece of glass.
In its basic form, the patent says, the Mac will consist of a plate with curved lower edges that sits on a tabletop to hold input devices, while a larger flat area will include the embedded display. Glass would form the main support structure holding the display, affixed to the back of the glass, and could include an iSight camera attached in the usual location above the screen.
Because it is one piece, the curved lip is not enough to keep the glass upright during normal use. To solve this problem, Apple proposed using a wedge-shaped section to support the glass, slotted between the lower lip and the main upper panel to accommodate the curved section. The wedge doesn’t just act as a prop; it can have enough volume to hold components such as ports for network connectivity, peripherals, and power. Doing so shaves some weight off the display and glass from the components and gives the wedge more weight to keep it stable.
The angle of the glass can be adjusted by changing its position on the wedge, placing it higher or lower, depending on the user’s preference. To help with its configurability, Apple also proposes that the curve of the glass itself can be adjusted in some cases. Flattening the curve could make the Mac easier to pack or transport, although it could also be folded up for less storage space.