[Update 10/14: Float Shelf is now available for all earlier iMacs, and Apple Thunderbolt & Cinema displays, including 17″/20″/21.5″ iMacs, 24″/27″ iMacs, 27″ Thunderbolt displays, 20″/23″ Cinema displays, and 24″/27″/30″ Cinema displays.
Float Shelf initially only supported newer 21.5″ and 27″ iMacs without SuperDrives. Now two additional versions which will fit older generations iMacs and Apple Thunderbolt & Cinema displays are available through the campaign.]
Earlier this year at CES I met the folks at Prism Designs who have some interesting new accessories for Apple products in development. The latest is called Float Shelf, which is an aluminum panel that attaches to the back of your iMac to provide a handy stand for decluttering your desk. Float Shelf is launching as a Kickstarter project today with nearly $9,000 (and climbing) in funding already, and we recently got a chance to go hands-on with Float Shelf for iMac…
9to5Mac Happy Hour
Prism Designs describes Float Shelf as being machined “from a solid extrusion of aircraft-grade aluminum, a Float Shelf is strong enough to support ten pounds (4.5 kg).”
That’s practical for photos and other things you may want to display on your desk and usually fine for small speakers, routers, and similar accessories.
Float Shelf touts an “elegant tapered profile and anodized finish beautifully complement an iMac’s minimalist aesthetic.” In person, I was very impressed with just how Apple-like Float Shelf seemed.
There’s a single Prism Designs company logo on the bottom side of Float Shelf (out of sight) and no visible logos that would make it look unofficial. It matches the quality of the aluminum base that holds the iMac up with detailed curves and a solid feel.
Installation is very simple. Float Shelf just slides over the top of the iMac’s stand and down into place. A rubber padding prevents any aluminum from making contact to prevent any scratching, and Float Shelf settles firmly into place.
Once installed, Float Shelf looks like a natural extension of the iMac’s stand. While Float Shelf is clearly visible from the sides and back, it’s surprisingly out of sight from the front view.
How you might use Float Shelf depends on your iMac’s placement. For example, the back of the iMac would be facing a wall in my office so Float Shelf could hold speakers or a router that I might want to keep out of sight or off my desk. If you frequently use a SuperDrive or USB hub, for instance, this is a very useful place to leave either.
Testing the version for 27-inch iMacs, Float Shelf fully accommodates the iMac’s full range of tilt too. Even with a speaker loaded up, the iMac didn’t make contact at it’s most extreme recline. The same is true when tilting the iMac as far forward as possible.
Float Shelf had zero issues from installation, use, and removing during testing. Out of curiosity, however, I did test how level it was using the iPhone’s Compass app and saw a -2º readout when flat. For context, my desk showed a -1º reading from the same iPhone when laying flat.
You can lightly tap either side of Float Stand to adjust its placement during installation, however, so if a degree of balance is important to you keep that in mind. In practice, I wouldn’t have noticed any difference in how level it was from just eyeballing it during installation.
Overall, Float Shelf is a very solid product and one that would fit just fine in an Apple Store. The quality is top notch and it had no negative impact on the attached iMac. The Kickstarter is just getting started and funding is increasing quickly ($5000 added in the last two hours). 50 days to go with a funding goal of $25,000.
There are a few early bird pricing levels available starting at $75 for 21.5-inch iMac versions and $85 for 27-inch iMac versions. Delivery for both versions is estimated at April 2017. Having tested Float Shelf for iMac, I’m confident it will hit its funding goal and impress its backers.