Footage of Prototype Touchscreen iMac From 1999 Emerges

A prototype touchscreen iMac was apparently produced and designed to be sold via Apple. Developed by a company called Elo, the touchscreen iMacs were made with the vision to use them as kiosk machines. Now, YouTuber Michael MJD got a hold of one and is showing it off.

In a fascinating 17-minute-long video (first reported on by MacRumors), Michael MJD reveals some of the novel features this devices boasts. For instance, the device offers Elo’s  iTouch touch-on-tube interface. In exchange of using an overlay, the touchscreen iMac uses surface acoustic waves to detect touch.

YouTube video

For those interested, Michael MJD’s video is quite interesting as the creator not only breaks down the tech that enables the touch interactivity but the history of Elo as well.

There’s been rumours and reports of a touch iMac for many, many years. However, despite reports going back as far as 2010, Apple never full invested in the technology. In fact, former CEO Steve Jobs is siad to have pulled the plug on any such developments due to not being a believer in vertical touch surfaces. Instead, Jobs doubled down on devices such as iPhone and iPad. Since Tim Cook took over the role, touch functions have also been applied to the Apple Watch.

That being said, there may be hope for touch interactivity within the Mac series. Recently, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman claimed Apple is working on a new external monitor for Mac devices with smart home display functions. While not shooting down any possibilities of touch functions, the device would leverage the new Standby feature of iOS 17, thus potentially opening up the possibility of touch functions.

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