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Apple has all kinds of fanciful patents for imaginative devices that will likely never come to fruition, such as an iMac-like desktop computer made entirely of glass, which was shared last week in a patent published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Apple's patent describes an electronic device with an upper portion that serves as a display area, a lower portion that serves as an input area, and a transitional section that connects the two halves for a "continuous curved surface between the upper portion and the lower portion."

applepatentedimacdesign.jpg

The lower section of the device rests on the desktop and is used for holding input devices, while the larger flat area serves as the display, with a stand at the back for propping it up and holding it in place. Given the thinness of the all-glass curved design of the Mac, the stand that holds it in place would be able to house necessary components and would also be able to be positioned differently to adjust the angle of the display.

imacstanddesign.jpg

The glass between the two sections of the device is described as flexible and able to change in angle between the display area and the input area. The input area is said to extend along a portion of the display area to form a "touchscreen-style display," and functionality such as wireless charging for other devices or data transfer capabilities could be included.

imachingedesignsingleglass.jpg

Apple separately describes multiple embodiments of the design, including one with a detachable, removable keyboard that fits over the lower portion of the glass design, which, when in place, allows the glass to detect the keystrokes.

imacremovablekeyboard.jpg
An electronic device comprising: a slumped glass housing member defining: a continuous exterior surface of the electronic device; and an opening extending through the slumped glass housing member; a support structure coupled to the slumped glass housing member and configured to support the slumped glass housing member; a display coupled to an upper portion of the slumped glass housing member; and a keyboard having: a storage configuration in which the keyboard is positioned at least partially within the opening; and a use configuration in which the keyboard is extended from the opening.
This portion of the patent also highlights a camera that could be built into the glass of the enclosure, using an "optically transmissive material." Apple says that the design outlined in the patent could be made of glass, but the housing could also feature plastic or ceramic, as long as the material is light-transmissive.

The material for the design could have special features like scratch resistance, wireless charging support, or it could be able to allow touch and force to be detected through it. Apple also says biometric sensing capabilities could be included, detecting everything from fingerprints to heart rate, blood oxygenation levels, and temperature.

Because the patent describes both an "electronic device" and a "desktop computer," it suggests that this same design could be used for Macs or potentially an iOS device like an iPad. The patent goes into great detail about possible designs and functions, and further reading is available in the application on the US Patent and Trademark Office website.

Apple hasn't redesigned the iMac in some time, and although the patent appears to describe an iMac-like desktop computer, this probably isn't the implementation that we're going to see when Apple ultimately debuts a new iMac enclosure. Apple patents all manner of devices that never make it to production, but with curved glass and foldable devices becoming more popular, there is a possibility that we could see some of the functionality described in this patent at some point in the future.

Article Link: Apple Patent Imagines iMac Made From a Single Sheet of Glass
 
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dumastudetto

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Aug 28, 2013
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I think something like this, but basically a big canvass running iPadOS could be interesting. Apple has started allowing some traditional inputs to manipulate iPadOS, so we could soon move into the world where an iMac becomes a big iPad with an integrated keyboard and maybe even touchpad.

It seems the catalyst concept is a huge failure, so the future really does need to be moving people away from macOS entirely and into iPadOS.
 
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PinkyMacGodess

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Mar 7, 2007
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good luck changing the viewing angle

The 'transition area' is flexible. How much would an important thing to find out before buying one. Still, I thought the stalk mounted monitor on the earlier iMac was bizarre, but ended up wanting to get one. It could be very popular. I get tired of losing things under my huge 27" iMac, and having to tilt it to reach under it. It's not easy on many desks. Definitely not mine. *groan*
 
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chrisdazzo

macrumors 6502a
Apr 11, 2006
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Imagine your keyboard or trackpad stop working, then what? You bring your whole computer in? Just a patent, at the end of the day - nothing will ever come of this. Apple, just give us an actual new iMac.
 
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Icaras

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Mar 18, 2008
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Wonderful news. Whatever the design will be, I sure hope it comes this year. Fingers crossed.
 
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PinkyMacGodess

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Mar 7, 2007
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I think something like this, but basically a big canvass running iPadOS could be interesting. Apple has started allowing some traditional inputs to manipulate iPadOS, so we could soon move into the world where an iMac becomes a big iPad with an integrated keyboard and maybe even touchpad.

It seems the catalyst concept is a huge failure, so the future really does need to be moving people away from macOS entirely and into iPadOS.

I hope not! YUCK! ?‍♀️
 
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am2am

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Oct 15, 2011
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Real all-in-one design with keyboard & touchpad always in place (unless you detach keyboard) + wireless charging for your iPhone/applewatch/airpads.. not bad.
There might be something with it if they address ergonomics properly.
 
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now i see it

macrumors 603
Jan 2, 2002
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Easy to fab now that there's been bendable OLED displays for years. Hardly a unique idea, nor original
 
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KazKam

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Oct 25, 2011
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It seems the catalyst concept is a huge failure...

Agreed. Or, at least it's fraught with obvious compromises and issues.

...so the future really does need to be moving people away from macOS entirely and into iPadOS.

Why? Why does it have to be one OS to rule them all? If anything, Apple is fragmenting iOS more and more. No full file system access is a no sale for me and many others. Too many "real" workflows require it.
 
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Sasparilla

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Jul 6, 2012
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Hmmmnn, the keyboard comes out (wireless?) for use and is in for charging.

Interesting, although I like the current versions significantly better.
 
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tyr7

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Dec 5, 2019
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it looks cool be is it practical? I like that the keyboard and trackpad are removable so if they fail you can replace them, not having to have the complete unit repaired. That is the concept I have always disliked about all in one design. If one component fails the whole system is down.
 
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kissmo

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Jun 29, 2011
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I am sure the final product of a such layout would look amazing if Apple keeps their design mentality.
Looking forward to it eventually, though I doubt we will see it this year.

I will be looking forward to buying a new iMac but I am waiting for a design change.
 
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