I love my iMac. It does everything I need it to, it has an awesome monitor, it doesn’t take up the space of a tower. I am a heavy user, and it’s likely my next computer will also be an iMac.
Which means I’m following Apple’s new patent for what might be a new iMac design with some interest.
What is the Patent For?
The patent is for 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” according to MacRumors.
The keyboard is either slotted into or built into the lower half. The computer itself is in a wedge, and a version is also being circulated that appears to act as a Macbook docking station.
It looks incredibly futuristic and Star Trek. But is it going to be any good to use?
How is the Patented Device Going to Function?
My knee jerk reaction to this is “badly.” It’s already giving me flashbacks to the mini cube and some of Apple’s other experiments in design.
If the lower area is really the input area, then it creates two major problems:
- iMacs and other desktops tend to be used by heavy users. I personally get through a good keyboard about every eighteen months. I don’t want my keyboard built into my iMac, which I expect to last me at least five to six years.
- It’s ergonomically lousy. It’s almost as bad as a laptop. (People, laptops suck). Either you have to have the monitor too low (bad for your eyes and neck) or the keyboard too high (bad for your wrists and elbows).
Now, if the lower area is a dock for a rechargeable keyboard, it becomes a lot more reasonable. In fact, one of my biggest Mac wishlists is a charging dock for the Magic Mouse so I don’t have to keep remembering to plug it in.
I like the idea that the computer itself might be modular, which would be a major step from Apple’s growing tendency to make absolutely sure nothing is user serviceable ever (a particular problem for people who live in countries which don’t have a brick and mortar Apple presence).
And the sketch sure looks sweet.
Of course, the other possibility is that this patent isn’t going to go anywhere. Or it might be something released solely as a Macbook dock. It might even be something that will show up in some form in later generation iPads.
We don’t know yet, but I personally hope that Apple won’t be expecting me to type on a keyboard physically attached to my monitor.
That’s not happening. On the other hand, there are other ways they can go with this that are absolutely fantastic and it will definitely be interesting to see how it goes.