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Future iMacs could be made entirely of glass and resemble a glorified MacBook

The new Apple patent envisions the iMac as a single continuous sheet of curved glass. (Image Source: Patently Apple)
The new Apple patent envisions the iMac as a single continuous sheet of curved glass. (Image Source: Patently Apple)
iMacs of the future could be made entirely of a single sheet of curved glass, if a recent Apple patent is anything to go by. According to the patent, the iMac could have a radical design overhaul with a foldable glass keyboard deck, dual trackpads, and more. The patent also shows a possible design of Mac accessories that allow for a MacBook to dock directly into the glass surface to allow for a larger working area.

The Apple iMac lineup received an upgrade early last year, but the design was more or less similar to almost every other iMac before it. However, that might change if a recent Apple patent is anything to go by. The patent published by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) shows Apple's vision for a future iMac made completely out of a continuous glass body. 

According to the patent, the upper portion of the glass contains an embedded OLED display while the curved base houses a raised keyboard for easy typing and other input devices such as a trackpad on either side. There is also an alternative design showing the keyboard to be separable. The keyboard can be extended during use and docked when not. In the patent, Apple notes that the glass housing may ultimately be opaque or translucent even though it is primarily made of glass. The back of the device houses the ports and the speaker, possibly doubling-up as a home automation system. Given the thinness of the display, it is very well possible that the base would house all the necessary hardware components.

An interesting design being proposed in the patent is the MacBook desktop accessory wherein it would be possible to dock a MacBook's keyboard into the curved glass display to allow for a larger area for viewing and working. This also hints at the possibility of the MacBook getting an overhaul to match the aesthetics of the iMac dock. 

As is the case with patents, most are conceptual and not all design ideas end up in the final product. Apple may use this design or trash it altogether depending on various other factors. While we don't expect the very next iMac upgrade to be glassy, it is likely that we aren't too far away from such a device either.

The base of the device could house all the hardware. (Image Source: Patently Apple)
The base of the device could house all the hardware. (Image Source: Patently Apple)
The keys on the keyboard may have physically distinct regions to allow for easy typing. (Image Source: Patently Apple)
The keys on the keyboard may have physically distinct regions to allow for easy typing. (Image Source: Patently Apple)
The keyboard can slide out during use. (Image Source: Patently Apple)
The keyboard can slide out during use. (Image Source: Patently Apple)
A design option allows for docking a MacBook directly into the glass surface. (Image Source: Patently Apple)
A design option allows for docking a MacBook directly into the glass surface. (Image Source: Patently Apple)
The curved glass bottom can be folded and flexed for storage and transportation. (Image Source: Patently Apple)
The curved glass bottom can be folded and flexed for storage and transportation. (Image Source: Patently Apple)
 
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 01 > Future iMacs could be made entirely of glass and resemble a glorified MacBook
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2020-01-28 (Update: 2020-01-28)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.