Thursday, July 25, 2024

Apple’s Latest Patent Application Reveals New Touchscreen iMac Design for Artists With Wireless Charging Station

In the recent past, Apple has reserved all of its touchscreen software interactions to its iPhones and iPads (iOS and iPadOS) while limiting its iMac and MacBook (macOS) software interactions to a mouse, keyboard and trackpad. While there have been many hardware mods designed to turn the iMac’s interface into a touchscreen one, these would be rather limited as the interface has not been designed keeping these touch interactions in mind. The closest an Apple MacBook ever came to a touchscreen implementation was in 2016, with the new Touch Bar feature introduced on its Pro laptop lineup, which was then replaced with regular function keys in 2023.

It was only with the recent macOS Ventura update in 2022 that macOS moved an inch closer to a touchscreen interface with an overhauled System Settings (previously System Preferences). It brought both iPadOS and MacOS on par in terms of design elements and also introduced a new mode called Stage Manager on MacOS (introduced a year prior with iPadOS 16), which helped organise opened apps better on both smaller (tablet) and larger (Mac) displays. Now, a freshly filed patent hints that Apple is working on adding a touchscreen on its iMac, a move that would complete the circle if launched in the near future.

A patent application (via Patently Apple) reveals a lot of ideas that Apple currently seems to be working on, that could possibly make their way to future products.

One figure illustrates a low-profile iMac design which appears very similar to a flat screen TV with no base stand, while a few others aim to show a built-in carry handle, which slides and hides into the all-in-one system’s display when not in use. Another image also reveals a handle mounted to the rear pivot (which lets the display tilt upwards or downwards) of what appears to be a new-age iMac model.

More interesting, are the next batch of images illustrating the same iMac display without a base stand, but mounted on to a dock device which apart from providing a small storage shelf-like area can also doubles up as a wireless charging stand for iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch and more. This dock device can also lift the monitor or iMac by a couple of inches.

Accompanying images in this batch also reveal appears to be a recently launched iMac but with touchscreen display. However this display has two hinges (much like a Microsoft Surface Studio, which allows the display to tilt back and sit down on the desk at various angles, making it convenient for artists.

The patent, filed on March 7, reportedly added 20 new claims which focused on a device stand system, a pivot mechanism and a device mounting system. One of these also mentions a pivot system that will actually let the display pivot from left to right, which has been a long-standing limitation on iMac models.

Apple unveiled its first mixed reality headset, the Apple Vision Pro, at its annual developer conference, along with new Mac models and upcoming software updates. We discuss all the most important announcements made by the company at WWDC 2023 on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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