Future iMacs, Studio Displays may add a ‘reconfigurable stand ecosystem’

FIGS. 1A, 1B, and 1C show side views of an electronic device and support system in three different pivoted configurations.

One of the complaints about iMacs and the Apple Studio Display is that they need swivel and height-adjustment features. A newly granted patent for a “Reconfigurable Stand Ecosystem” hints that they might get such features.  

About the patent

The patent relates generally to stands, arms, and other supports for electronic devices and, more particularly, to connection assemblies for adjusting the tilt, height, and attachment status of computing devices/displays and their supports.

In the patent Apple says that companies such as itself are constantly seeking out improvements to the user’s experience with the assembly, portability, ergonomics, aesthetics, and durability of their devices. For some devices, such as a computer monitor, display screen, touch screen, or “all-in-one” computer (i.e., a computer monitor that also contains a processor and other computing components), the rear-facing side of the housing of the device can be covered with unsightly and distracting cords, hinges, markings, ports, labels, fasteners, and other components. 

Although a device maker may find ways to reduce or eliminate those undesirable features, the redesigned device usually lacks versatility, such as only being compatible with one stand, and, in many cases, not being able to be removed from the stand at all. Additionally, users often prefer the stands of their devices to have a quality, solid, and sturdy feel whether the stand is adjusted, tilted, lifted, moved, or replaced. 

However, providing these features frequently comes at a high cost due to high part complexity, difficulty to manufacture or transport, expensive custom parts and materials, and more. Apple’s idea is for support systems and stands for electronic devices include tilt hinges, lift arms, and their component parts.

Summary of the patent

Here’s Apples abstract of the patent: “Some tilt hinges include assemblies for guiding and retaining bars or protrusions into preferred positioning within receiver openings to unify the parts, particularly as they move, and to reduce wobble or slop in the joints. Lift arms provide simplified and low-cost guidance and counterbalance mechanisms for controlling movement of the electronic device relative to the base of a stand. 

“In some cases, the lift arms have sheaths to help protect or cover mechanisms while allowing additional space for the mechanisms within the lift arm. Other interconnection systems hide and protect a connector interface between the stand and the electronic device within a housing until unlocked and the connector is moved into an exposed position. These systems improve efficiency, comfort, ergonomics, accessibility, and user satisfaction of the electronic devices and their supports.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.