Apple’s iMac redefined the look of computers, with an ultra-thin display and components hidden neatly behind it.
But could the machine be about to get even slimmer?
An intriguing patent filed by Apple hints that the tech company has a plan for a curved, ultra-slim “all glass” device.
The new patent, filed in the US for an "Electronic Device with Glass Housing Member”, hints that a new iMac could effectively be a single sheet of glass.
The ultra-slim device would have a curved bottom with keys, and support a screen built into a single sheet of glass.
The clever bit is that the curved sheet would be supported by a wedge-shaped component at the bottom.
The wedge-shaped part could hold connections and processors, the patent suggests.
The US patent was filed by members of Apple’s Macintosh Architecture Group, behind some of the well-known innovations in the iMac.
The patent says: “The electronic device may include a display coupled to the glass housing member and configured to provide a visual output at the display area.
“The electronic device may include an input device coupled to the glass housing member and configured to detect inputs at the input area. The electronic device may include a support structure coupled to the glass housing member and configured to support the computing device.”
At Christmas, Apple unveiled a new iMac at a cost of £48,000 once fully specced up.
For that money, you get a truly ludicrous machine, armed with 1.5 terabytes of RAM (hundreds of times what you get in the top-end iPhone 11) and a bleeding-edge 2.5GHz 28‑core Intel Xeon W processor, with Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz.
It’s worth noting that Apple patents many devices, some of which don’t make it past the drawing board.
Others are seized on by Apple fans - including one for a “sublimator/vaporiser” invention, which fans claimed meant Apple might be working on an iVape.
The US Patent and Trademark Office published an Apple patent application for the invention - but it’s more likely to relate to making computer chips.
MacRumors said in 2017: “The patent instead relates to a semiconductor device fabrication process Apple uses to create chips for its devices.
“The application describes a canister that can be used to vaporise or sublimate a substance, which in Apple's case would be for delivering substances to a substrate during the deposition or etching process.”
The site also pointed out that inventor Tetsuya Ishikawa has several other patents relating to computer chips - not vaping.