A computer made from a single sheet of glass seems like an idea pulled straight out of a sci-fi movie, but Apple is actually working quietly on that very thing.
That’s according to an Apple patent that surfaced late last month. But while the idea itself is exciting, a designer has taken the design and created a beautiful concept mockup of what that futuristic iMac could look like.
Glass Sheet iMac
To put it simply, the result is pretty stunning.
While Apple’s current iMacs are stylish and minimal, there’s no doubt that the concept takes Apple’s design language to another level.
As LetsGoDigital points out, the “thin, stylish glass design would be a real eye-catcher in many living rooms and offices and would certainly meet today’s design standards.”
Smit didn’t just pull the concept out of thin air, either. The renders actually pretty closely resemble design figures that were included in Apple’s patent, which was published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office on Jan. 23.
While objectively beautiful, the iMac concept is also practical in a number of ways. As Smit points out, the middle portion of the device could be bent so that users can get the best viewing angle from their displays.
That could also add to its portability and convenience since the publication notes that the bottom portion can be bent to make the iMac much more packable.
How It Could Work
But how could Apple produce an iMac from a single slab of glass — particularly at scale? As LetsGoDigital points out, bent or curved glass is actually an old idea that’s shown up in architecture, among other places.
Apple could heat up a single slab of glass to bend it during production. Once it’s properly cooled, it would set in place and would no longer be flexible. The patent also notes that any translucent material, such as ceramic or plastic, could be used.
While the concept renders are pretty great, they don’t really get into the gritty details of how such an iMac would work.
Some of the additional figures in the patent demonstrate that the internals of the computer would still be housed in a rear section, so Apple wouldn’t be fitting the guts of its iMac into the glass panel or anything.
Of course, some users have pointed out that the ergonomics of this design may not be the best since the built-in keyboard is rather close to the display.
On the other hand, the patent does note that the bottom portion of the glass slab could be used for other purposes, such as wireless data transfer and charging, or keyboard docking. The input area could also include a Touch Bar, which would be a first for Apple desktops.
It’s worth noting that this is simply a patent (and concept), and it doesn’t confirm anything about a glass iMac’s eventual release or timeline. Still, even if it’s an aspirational concept, it does indicate that Apple is still hard at work innovating in the aesthetic and design realms.