Pop quiz: What's holding up your iMac? As handsome as the metal foot design may be, many deskbound Mac mavens eventually find that the fixed-height screen position isn't quite high enough for comfortable ergonomics. In my experience, the same goes for the Cinema Display -- up until yesterday, my office setup included a dusty box set of big band standards deployed as a screen lifter to give me a boost.
I've retired the CD box, though, since the Apple-exclusive accessory studio Twelve South sent over the cleverly designed, sleek HiRise adjustable stand for iMac and Cinema Display. This self-assembled unit includes an adjustable internal shelf, which you place at the height you like for supporting your computer's stand. Underneath the shelf (indeed, if you slot it low enough in the enclosure, atop the shelf as well) there's hideaway room for sundry items like keys, cash, USB drives and the like. If you're lucky enough to have both an iMac and a Thunderbolt display, there's a shelf position that will align the two devices' screens exactly.
The HiRise includes Mac Pro-style front and back grating covers, which attach via magnets or tiny hex screws (Allen wrench thoughtfully included). The suggested assembly is to permanently attach the back panel, but to leave the front panel removably affixed with the magnets so that you can pull it off, retrieve your stuff and put it back. The enclosure works equally well with a Cinema Display / Mac mini combo, with room at the bottom for the entire computer if you want to stash it there -- in that setup, you can screw the front panel closed as well.
Here's the thing, though, and no disrespect to the Twelve South product team (their PlugBug adapter is one of my favorite gadgets). The HiRise is sturdy and well-built, with a true "works with Mac" look in a premium, attractive package. It is also retailing for $79.99.
If you find that you're $80 worth of concerned about how well-balanced and clean your desk looks... well, you know who you are, and you're probably already ordering a HiRise at this moment. For the rest of us, if you're considering spending 80 bucks on a display stand that doubles as a storage drawer, how about throwing in a few dollars more to buy yourself some actual storage? OWC's Mercury Pro drives have the same cheesegrater aesthetics, but also have handy USB or Firewire ports to connect you to 500+ GB of external drive capacity. In fact, the Newer Tech MiniStack ships for $89.99 in a bare kit configuration; throw in a spare SATA drive and tuck it under the iMac, problem solved.
The HiRise is available now direct from Twelve South, with free ground shipping in the continental US.