Mac | Life Rethinks Apple: iDesk

Making work much more efficient and immeasurably more fun to do

Some of the most exciting new ideas are built upon old concepts, and revolutionize the ways in which we utilize things that have been around for so long that we hardly give them a second thought anymore. Everyone expects continual technological advancement from computers and mobile gizmos, but when you can suddenly check email on the bathroom mirror , entrust your climatic comfort to an intelligent thermostat , or make the refrigerator the digital hub of your household , well, that’s just cool. Improvements to seemingly small and insignificant things can greatly enhance the quality of our daily lives (thank you, Sleep Number bed!), and since many of us spend a large portion of our days sitting behind a desk, it’s the perfect place for Apple to work its transformative techno-magic.
Illustrations by Adam Benton
  • Sync with any iOS device simply by placing it upon the desk.
  • You won’t need a mouse when any area of your touch-sensitive desk can be designated as a trackpad.
  • Making calls, scheduling appointments, and much more could be done from the surface of a clean, clutter-free workspace.
Imagine an entirely adaptable workspace that doesn’t just hold your equipment, but enhances and interacts with it. As with Microsoft’s Surface technology, the entire desk would be a touch-sensitive display capable of running several simultaneous apps, some of which--such as a calendar, phone, and digital Post-It notes—would replace their physical counterparts entirely. Notifications, to-do lists, video conferencing, Adobe tool palettes, and countless widgets such as calculators and weather reports would all appear right on the surface of your desk, literally putting your entire working world at your fingertips.

The desk could sync with your Mac or potentially have a Mac built in, perhaps with a portion of the desk’s surface angled upward to serve as a display. Tactile keyboards could likewise be replaced by a digital touch-sensitive version (endlessly configurable to your preferences for individual apps), and any part of the desk’s surface could be cordoned off as a trackpad area. Files could be transferred easily between Macs, iPhones, iPads, and so on by sitting the devices on the desk and swiping file icons across its surface from one device to the other. Shared files could be passed between coworkers via digital inboxes, designated digital “trays” that collect documents sent from other iDesks. And of course, the desk would wirelessly sync to your iCloud account to keep calendars, contacts, and other data updated across all your gizmos.
Desktop skins could give your workspace a stately mahogany look, float your desk upon the ocean, or make you appear to hover above the clouds as if directing the corporate world from Mount Olympus.
Productivity might take a hit from all the tweets, Facebook status updates, and YouTube links that we would inevitably configure to pop up all over our workspace, but the iDesk’s endless array of work-boosting benefits would surely make us more efficient overall, while making the execution of even the most mundane tasks as cool as commanding the Enterprise.