iMac Touch

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014




I don't think it's aesthetically great (base could possibly be shorter and designed to look less like a grumpy face) but the concept is the main thing. The current iMac design is limited in a number of ways:



- The IO and power ports on the back means you can't move the screen a lot while peripherals are plugged in, certainly not flat for touch

- With the parts being in the screen, it makes the screen very heavy so it's not easy to move around quickly



The above concept has a number of benefits:



- It means Apple can build Mac Minis in that style and this means if you wanted to upgrade to an iMac, you buy the touch display and attach it.

- If you need to replace a damaged screen, you just detach it and ship just the screen back.

- If you need to get the base fixed, just detach it - in both cases, no more lugging heavy parts back to the Apple store.

- They can more easily offer anti-glare options.

- The packaging is smaller (top right)

- The ports would be at the back of the base so won't interfere with the movement.

- The screen would be much lighter and could be pulled down to touch-mode very quickly and also swivelled into portrait - size of the display would be 22-24" @ 1080p.

- The bezel is uniform so it works in any orientation.

- Given that it's just a Mini on the bottom, the price should be lower - the base dimension would be like drawing a circle round the current Mini and 2-3x the height. Double the height is probably enough and would allow more drives for storage in the Mini Server for extra RAID options.

- Because the display doesn't need to be opened to allow servicing computer parts, they can laminate the glass onto the panel meaning lower refraction, better touch input, less glare and lighter as they can use thinner glass.



There are a few drawbacks, which include:



- Small base means slower parts but right now, 65W parts are as fast as the current high-end i7 iMac and even the quad MBP parts are. Technology moves on so the next i7s will be even faster but direct touch input is going to be very important.

- It means some assembly when you get it but not much - ideally, the arm would lock into place with a simple mechanism.

- display movement might have to be restricted to prevent damaging the display by banging it off the desk
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,224moderator




    I changed the base to be more visually appealing and not a cone shape. This would be shaped a lot closer to the current Mini so no fancy circular motherboard and it doesn't look as much like a weird face.



    It would have some flat edges so you don't see the optical slot from the side and probably not the Apple logo either.



    It's flat on the top so that these can be stacked like current Minis and the cooling vents go out the back.



    The arm connection point at the top can double as the wifi antenna so that it isn't blocking access to the storage from the bottom. There would be up to 4 x 2.5" drives (12.5mm support) inside so up to 4TB of space



    It would use the MBP quad-core i7 and either the 6490 or 6750 GPU so same performance as the current iMac i7 but with much lower power usage (1/3 or so).
  • Reply 2 of 32
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,831member
    The last thing we need is for the IMac to regress performance wise. This is pretty much the implication when you make the base Mini size. IMac currently "sorta" fills the performance gap between the Mini and the Pro, as such it really needs to perform better than the next Mini. Much better in my book, because no matter what Intel or AMD offer up there is only so much performance that can be fit into a small box.



    The second issue is physical. A small base like that can't counter the torgue the screen produces. The likely hood is that the base would need a heavy ballast, mist likely a cast-iron disk. This isn't bad but you are talking significant weight just to keep the monitor from falling over. You get above 20" or so and you will have mass out at the end of that arm. Which brings us to the second issue the cover needs to withstand that torgue too. In the end interior space would suffer.



    In the end I dont really disagree with you as I really don't like the current iMacs approach. Something better is certainly possible. So that being the case I think you need to look at the mechanics and think about how you would make the base viable. Thus you will likely need a bigger base and more importantly a design that keeps the mass of the screen more or less centered above the base. In otherwords a design that avoids cantilevering the screen beyond the perimeter of the base. One consideration is a vertical post upon which the screen can move up and down and swing about.



    I can see Apple throwing all of this away though by making a base unit that is completely independent of the screen. With Thunderbolt the screen can sit on a desk with the base unit some distance away. I could easily see iNac going away replaced with two different classes of base units. One would be todays current Mini extended with TB. The other would be a more substantial unit that supports faster hardware and more configurability. Again the connection to the screen would be TB. Such an arraingement would provide for significant design freedom around the screens. The Mini would require very little in the way of modification for a low end solution, the midrange would be new hardware and finally the high end gets taken care of by a new spin on the Mac Pro. This approach would allow Apple to kill many birds with just three stones.
  • Reply 3 of 32
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,224moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    The last thing we need is for the IMac to regress performance wise. IMac currently "sorta" fills the performance gap between the Mini and the Pro



    The current laptop processors match the current high-end iMacs, which I think is decent enough. The people buying the 27" i7 iMac likely want a Mac Pro but can't afford it. By moving to a consumer screen size and fast mobile chips, it can mean reduced prices for the Mac Pro line again.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    The second issue is physical. A small base like that can't counter the torgue the screen produces. The likely hood is that the base would need a heavy ballast, mist likely a cast-iron disk.



    The screen could be very thin/light OLED:



    http://gizmodo.com/#!5063527/lg-show...nch-oled-panel



    and the heavier PSU in the base needed to drive the screen and extra drives can help weigh it down. You're right that there will be challenges with the screen weight though, especially when moving it around and they'd need to go back to the soft rubber in the old Mini to stop it sliding.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Thus you will likely need a bigger base and more importantly a design that keeps the mass of the screen more or less centered above the base. In otherwords a design that avoids cantilevering the screen beyond the perimeter of the base. One consideration is a vertical post upon which the screen can move up and down and swing about.



    Keeping the mass centered is probably the best solution but for touch, I'd say it still needs to lay down very flat. The following design would allow that flexibility while keeping the screen mass directly above the base:







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    I can see Apple throwing all of this away though by making a base unit that is completely independent of the screen.



    That would allow even the Mac Pro to get the touch features as you pointed out but they will still have to adopt some unique display design to maintain flexibility and stability. I guess the could compromise the flexibility a bit if they went back to 16:10 displays or even 4:3.
  • Reply 4 of 32
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,831member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    The current laptop processors match the current high-end iMacs, which I think is decent enough. The people buying the 27" i7 iMac likely want a Mac Pro but can't afford it. By moving to a consumer screen size and fast mobile chips, it can mean reduced prices for the Mac Pro line again.



    One has to remember current laptops are running Intels best tech, the iMacs and Minis are far from that. In the case of the iMac just how fast would it be with a desktop variant of SB? My guess is at least 50% faster as a desktop SB ought to hit 3GHz before speed stepping.



    As an interesting aside the process shrink to 32nm could lead to a mini clock rate race. That is if AMD ever starts shipment of 32nm parts in volume.

    Quote:

    The screen could be very thin/light OLED:



    http://gizmodo.com/#!5063527/lg-show...nch-oled-panel



    and the heavier PSU in the base needed to drive the screen and extra drives can help weigh it down. You're right that there will be challenges with the screen weight though, especially when moving it around and they'd need to go back to the soft rubber in the old Mini to stop it sliding.



    I should note that challenges can be over comed. However expensive to manufacture is another issue altogether.

    Quote:





    Keeping the mass centered is probably the best solution but for touch, I'd say it still needs to lay down very flat. The following design would allow that flexibility while keeping the screen mass directly above the base:











    That would allow even the Mac Pro to get the touch features as you pointed out but they will still have to adopt some unique display design to maintain flexibility and stability. I guess the could compromise the flexibility a bit if they went back to 16:10 displays or even 4:3.



    Frankly I'm a big fan of wide screens and often get very frustrated with the 4:3 crowd. I've owned a lot of computers over the last 30 years and frankly many monitors, one of those being a Mac Plus. To put it mildly 4:3 screens suck big time. Especially when using modern software like IDEs.



    So to that end I'd prefer that Apple would stay wide screen with the iMacs. It is far more useful for most computing needs and is far more flexible for video playback.



    As to that stand alone monitor coming up with a tilt mechanism that goes far enough to handle Touch will be a challenge. A drafting table (remember them) took positioning and flexibility to the extreme, I often wonder if it might not be useful to go back to something like that in say a 40" screen. The big problem is that a 40" screen needs far more pixels for use up that close. For the smaller screens there are lots of options but one big problem in Touch or horizontal mode, that is the big heavy ball of flesh using it. The screen will end up getting knocked about, leaned on and otherwise subjected to loads a normal screen wouldn't.



    In the end I have serious reservations about a Touch based Mac anyways. The problem being ergonomics for a user who spends his work day at a computer.
  • Reply 5 of 32
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,224moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    One has to remember current laptops are running Intels best tech, the iMacs and Minis are far from that. In the case of the iMac just how fast would it be with a desktop variant of SB? My guess is at least 50% faster as a desktop SB ought to hit 3GHz before speed stepping.



    The iMac would likely get the 95W i7 2600K, which scores 15,000 in Geekbench vs the MBP quad i7, which gets 11,000 so it's about 35% improvement. Even the 130W i7-970 is getting 17,000 (54% improvement).



    I'd say that 35-55% improvement is not enough when the alternative could be a full touch-enabled Mac running at under 45W. Give it another couple of generations and nobody is going to mind if they get 4 cores, 8 cores or whatever. It will always come back to the user experience so Apple needs to bring some of the great touch functionality from the iPad back to the Mac system.



    It seems like it might be a gimmick at first but a lot of things are so much more enjoyable and fast to do with direct input - it can be summed up in one question: can you play a virtual piano on a current iMac in any reasonable way? As soon as you reach a point where you can't do something important like make music, the design is wrong.



    All that an extra 50% CPU bump will do is make raw encoding go slightly faster. If it takes 15 minutes to encode on the MBP, then 100% speedup would take 7.5 minutes so 50% speedup takes just over 11 minutes. You're not even going to notice that difference because that's in the best case.



    GPUs you might notice but the 6750 is playing most games tested on maximum quality at 30FPS+. The higher resolution would slow things down a bit if you play at native resolution but 720p is fine.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Frankly I'm a big fan of wide screens and often get very frustrated with the 4:3 crowd. I've owned a lot of computers over the last 30 years and frankly many monitors, one of those being a Mac Plus. To put it mildly 4:3 screens suck big time. Especially when using modern software like IDEs.



    I agree with you, I much prefer wide screens but that's why I feel a collapsible display won't be enough because you can't view portrait images properly on a widescreen. Even on the biggest displays, viewing portrait on a widescreen doesn't look right. Something as simple as the iPad where you flip it round to see the picture fill the display is needed and a 1080p in portrait is quite a bit higher vertical resolution than the 27" displays.
  • Reply 6 of 32
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,831member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    The iMac would likely get the 95W i7 2600K, which scores 15,000 in Geekbench vs the MBP quad i7, which gets 11,000 so it's about 35% improvement. Even the 130W i7-970 is getting 17,000 (54% improvement).



    Even a 35% improvement can be very useful. By the way I'm not discounting the fact that the new MBP are fast, just that desktop solutions will be faster yet again.

    Quote:

    I'd say that 35-55% improvement is not enough when the alternative could be a full touch-enabled Mac running at under 45W. Give it another couple of generations and nobody is going to mind if they get 4 cores, 8 cores or whatever. It will always come back to the user experience so Apple needs to bring some of the great touch functionality from the iPad back to the Mac system.



    I'd suspect that there are thousands that would not agree with you with respect to the 35 to 55% performance increase. I have to ask though what is it about that touch functionality that you want so see in the Mac lineup? Honestly I don't see a big draw here.

    Quote:

    It seems like it might be a gimmick at first but a lot of things are so much more enjoyable and fast to do with direct input - it can be summed up in one question: can you play a virtual piano on a current iMac in any reasonable way? As soon as you reach a point where you can't do something important like make music, the design is wrong.



    Very true! However if an app requires direct input as you say then isn't it obvious that the Mac is the wrong platform. If you flip this over the direct input capability of the IPad makes it all but useless for some uses without a keyboard. That is a physical keyboard where one can type at. It is sort of like using a shovel when you really need a pick, selecting the right tool is important to making a job bearable.

    Quote:

    All that an extra 50% CPU bump will do is make raw encoding go slightly faster. If it takes 15 minutes to encode on the MBP, then 100% speedup would take 7.5 minutes so 50% speedup takes just over 11 minutes. You're not even going to notice that difference because that's in the best case.



    You assume that most people are only using the hardware to speed up encodings. There are many good reasons for the hardware, be it CAD, Engineering or what have you. Sometimes you never have enough power.

    Quote:

    GPUs you might notice but the 6750 is playing most games tested on maximum quality at 30FPS+. The higher resolution would slow things down a bit if you play at native resolution but 720p is fine.



    I suspect that GPU's will only become more important as time progresses. There will be a day where the CPU is just seen as a adjunct to the GPU.

    Quote:

    I agree with you, I much prefer wide screens but that's why I feel a collapsible display won't be enough because you can't view portrait images properly on a widescreen. Even on the biggest displays, viewing portrait on a widescreen doesn't look right. Something as simple as the iPad where you flip it round to see the picture fill the display is needed and a 1080p in portrait is quite a bit higher vertical resolution than the 27" displays.



    Huh? Portrait images can be viewed fine on a wide screen. Lets face it no matter what the screen orientation you can't reproduce the resolution of even an average camera these days. At least not pixel to pixel. Viewing images on todays monitors is a compromise no matter what the screen size or orientation.
  • Reply 7 of 32
    luphluph Posts: 14member
    Touchscreen iMac has never made sense to me. Seems like you would have to clean the screen any time you want to play serious games or watch movies.



    What is even the point? Touch might be more ergonomic when I am on the couch, but if you are sitting at a desk a mouse makes more sense anyways.
  • Reply 8 of 32
    markvmarkv Posts: 2member
    I remember at an Apple event over a year ago when a reporter asked Steve Jobs if the iMac was relevant anymore. I think it was a Time magazine reporter. Anyways, Steve Jobs shot back and said something to the effect "wait until you see the next iMac". Well I've been patiently waiting. I really do think Apple will re-define how we currently view desktop computing.



    With all the patents related to hand-gestures we've seen in the last year from Apple that appear to be intended for a desktop (iMac) application, I would not be suprised if the rumors of a 21.5" iMac Touch are true.



    Additionally, as some of the prior posts have alluded to, I would not be surprised if Apple takes a modular approach in the next iMac. Have a powerful base module that could be ordered in various configurations. Somehow, implement a flexible arm that could attach the base to the truely flat lightweight wide-screen touch display.



    A modular approach would give users the flexibility/expandibility options and also allow Apple to possibly save on component costs too.
  • Reply 9 of 32
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,224moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    I'd suspect that there are thousands that would not agree with you with respect to the 35 to 55% performance increase. I have to ask though what is it about that touch functionality that you want so see in the Mac lineup? Honestly I don't see a big draw here.



    The main thing I'd say is pictures. The interface for manipulating and sorting pictures on a touch screen is so much better than normal input. Pinch-zoom, pan, rotate, slide to the next image, switch portrait/landscape, being able to make natural strokes vs mouse movement when photoshopping.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    However if an app requires direct input as you say then isn't it obvious that the Mac is the wrong platform.



    Screen size makes a difference to how you use touch apps. Even a 10" screen is too small for a piano or an iMovie interface. People can of course get an iPad to supplement the desktop use but I don't see them as being separate input methods.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    There are many good reasons for the hardware, be it CAD, Engineering or what have you. Sometimes you never have enough power.



    Sure but those sometimes are very few times and will get fewer as technology progresses until there's just one guy holding onto his tower for dear life with tears in his eyes as the agents come to pry it from his hands and replace it with a 32-core iPad.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    I suspect that GPU's will only become more important as time progresses. There will be a day where the CPU is just seen as a adjunct to the GPU.



    They will be one and the same chip though but I do think the integration between them will give the GPU a lot more to do than it does now.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Huh? Portrait images can be viewed fine on a wide screen.



    Sometimes fine doesn't cut it :







    The 27" isn't too bad though.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by markv


    With all the patents related to hand-gestures we've seen in the last year from Apple that appear to be intended for a desktop (iMac) application, I would not be suprised if the rumors of a 21.5" iMac Touch are true.



    Yeah, they're up to somethin' alright. The Lion fullscreen mode is, as Phil would say 'just the beginning'. Of course, it's always just the beginning, I'd like someone to come out and say we're somewhere in the middle for a change just so we know we're making progress.



    Each stage of technology, there are dots of information that come out. I think in a few years, we're going to connect those dots and it's going to be very clear what they've done. Right now, it's a bit fuzzy but even at this stage, it's clear they have a very smart strategy in place.
  • Reply 10 of 32
    paulmjohnsonpaulmjohnson Posts: 1,380member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by markv View Post


    With all the patents related to hand-gestures we've seen in the last year from Apple that appear to be intended for a desktop (iMac) application, I would not be suprised if the rumors of a 21.5" iMac Touch are true.



    Looking at what can be done with the Kinect on XBox makes me wonder what gesture technology could do for a PC interface.



    I don't really like the idea of a touch interface on a PC, given I sit further back from my screen than touching distance, but I could imagine gestures for things like forward and back in a browser.
  • Reply 11 of 32
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,831member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by markv View Post


    I remember at an Apple event over a year ago when a reporter asked Steve Jobs if the iMac was relevant anymore. I think it was a Time magazine reporter. Anyways, Steve Jobs shot back and said something to the effect "wait until you see the next iMac". Well I've been patiently waiting. I really do think Apple will re-define how we currently view desktop computing.



    With all the patents related to hand-gestures we've seen in the last year from Apple that appear to be intended for a desktop (iMac) application, I would not be suprised if the rumors of a 21.5" iMac Touch are true.



    It could be true or they could be simply protecting some R&D. I still see touch screens as a gimmick on the desktop. There are some cases where it might be beneficial but I don't think there is enough to make it a high demand feature. I still come back to the issue of ergonomics, it simply isn't practicle for somebody working at a desk.

    Quote:

    Additionally, as some of the prior posts have alluded to, I would not be surprised if Apple takes a modular approach in the next iMac. Have a powerful base module that could be ordered in various configurations. Somehow, implement a flexible arm that could attach the base to the truely flat lightweight wide-screen touch display.



    A modular approach would give users the flexibility/expandibility options and also allow Apple to possibly save on component costs too.



    One important point about a TB connected monitor, it would work equally well as a monitor for both desktop base stations and laptops. This means one monitor can work equally well for all of Apples products. I don't think TB being folded into the Mini Display Port was an accident, Apple has something up their sleeves.
  • Reply 12 of 32
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,680member
    A touchscreen desktop machine might appeal to some people, I don't know.



    What I do know, is that I definitely wouldn't want one. I'm lazy and my arms would get tired of reaching out and constantly moving things around on a big vertical monitor and doing gestures. I think that would apply to many other people also.



    I'm happy controlling my computers, either laptop or desktop with my magic trackpad.
  • Reply 13 of 32
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    One important point about a TB connected monitor, it would work equally well as a monitor for both desktop base stations and laptops. This means one monitor can work equally well for all of Apples products. I don't think TB being folded into the Mini Display Port was an accident, Apple has something up their sleeves.



    Maybe a cube (double sized) mini and do away with the iMac.
  • Reply 14 of 32
    I think the lamp Mac boat has sailed.



    I was fond of it's design. But it's boutique, space age design looks aged compared to the classy elegance of the current iMac.



    Let's face it.



    Apple's keeping the mini, evolving the iMac (probably into some bendy/dockable touch variant in the future...who knows..) And the Pro? Will probably stay as it is. Overpriced and with the current design. For a dinosaur tower design? As good as it gets. Bar the crap gpus and quad cores in a 2grand computer...



    Lemon Bon Bon.
  • Reply 15 of 32
    I'd like the Cube...but it looks like the 'mini' is it. Unfortunately...



    Lemon Bon Bon.
  • Reply 16 of 32
    junitorjunitor Posts: 8member
    i was told by one of my friend working in the apple research platform:



    The new imac will have touch screen and also........VOICE CONTROL & RECOGNITION.....



    they will be no keyboard...no mouse.....



    Typing can also be done by Voice control--just say the word...and it will typed out automatically.



    Launching of programs can be done by voice control. Speak "iphotos" and it will launch automatically.
  • Reply 17 of 32
    reganregan Posts: 474member
    This is so retarded I don't even know where to begin. Some techno geek with too much time on their hands and Photoshop created this image in their moms basement.



    Anyone who falls for this should have their head examined.



    The design is not only a huge step backwards, it's ugly and totally impractical. The current design blows it away in every regard.



    I laugh at this image. Bwa-ha-ha.
  • Reply 18 of 32
    reganregan Posts: 474member
    Even if the new LION osx incorporates some iOS functionality, I seriously doubt the iMac will be touch screen. A touch screen on an iMac is impractical. A novelty at best. Why reach up to a screen for anything? It's awkward and your arm would get tired.



    Even a simple gesture like being able to swipe or tap on the imac screen makes no sense.



    All Apple has to do is include their new trackpad as standard with the iMacs. That is all you need if LION indeed comes with some iOS features.



    It's much easier to use a trackpad than to hold your arm out in front of you to touch the computer screen. That would be awkward AND tiring.
  • Reply 19 of 32
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by junitor View Post


    i was told by one of my friend working in the apple research platform:



    It's a good thing you know absolutely nothing about it, because this is a terrible idea.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by regan View Post


    This is so retarded I don't even know where to begin. Some techno geek with too much time on their hands and Photoshop created this image in their moms basement.



    And you just insulted a moderator. Nice going!



    Quote:

    I laugh at this image. Bwa-ha-ha.



    Again, you'll want to poker face that foolishness.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by regan View Post


    A touch screen on an iMac is impractical. A novelty at best. Why reach up to a screen for anything? It's awkward and your arm would get tired.



    Because if you'd actually look at the patent, much less these mockups, you'd notice that they have absolutely nothing to do with vertical touchscreens.



    Quote:

    Even a simple gesture like being able to swipe or tap on the imac screen makes no sense.



    I designed a touch version of desktop OS X. Believe me, if you had a touchscreen iMac, you'd use it.



    Quote:

    It's much easier to use a trackpad than to hold your arm out in front of you to touch the computer screen. That would be awkward AND tiring.



    AGAIN, this mockup has NOTHING to do with that.
  • Reply 20 of 32
    reganregan Posts: 474member
    Hey, I'm just having some fun laughing at what I think is a silly design. Not attacking the creator just poking fun at em. :-)



    Look. I just think it's a silly design that's all. That's just me opinion. :-p



    And NO I would NOT use the touch screen if I could use a trackpad instead to do the same function.



    I just don't see how a touch screen iMac makes sense. And I'll never change my mind about that. If u disagree that's cool. I still wouldn't use it.
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