Apple could be working on an iMac-like computer that could be disassembled for transport. At least that’s the take-away I get from a newly filed patent (number 20210289645) for “low profile computer support.”
About the patent filing
In the patent filing, Apple notes that over the past several decades, computing devices have drastically advanced in their power and efficiency. Computer parts have also been miniaturized, and their housings and stands have likewise progressively become thinner, lighter, and more portable. Today’s desktop computers are made smaller, thinner, and lighter than ever before.
However, Apple notes that, in some ways, the reduced the size of a computing device negatively impacts its portability. Device makers reduce thickness of their devices while also increasing display sizes.
Apple says that over time, this has produced sleeker and thinner devices with large displays, but the pursuit of thinness, coupled with large displays, has led to products that can be overly difficult to move and inefficient to package and transport. (It’s a bit ironic that Apple mentions issues with computers being too thin, don’t you think?)
Additionally, stands and supports for the computing devices often inefficiently take up weight and space as compared to the highly optimized remainder of the computing device with which they are used. Apple says there’s a need for improvements to computing device stands, supports, and related components.
Summary of the patent filing
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing: “Low-profile computer supports include features to reduce the thickness and improve the portability or storage capability of a computer system while it is disassembled, packaged, shipped, or moved. Some computer systems have a computing device and a dock device that can be stored and moved separately or that can store or support accessories associated with the computer system.
“Some computer systems have a movable stand configured to transition between a collapsed state and a deployed or standing state. Some stands include handles or grips for moving the computer systems while collapsed. Other computer systems include handles or grips to provide areas to more easily carry the computer systems. The handles or grips can have features such as a flexible material to hide or mask their appearance on the computer system.”
Figure 18 illustrates a computer in which components such as a dock or hub can be removed.