Date: Thursday, June 2nd, 2016, 10:39
Category: Hardware, Rumor, Thunderbolt, USB-C
Apple’s current Thunderbolt Display, as impressive as it is, is on its way out.
Following up on previous rumors, Apple looks to be running out of stock for the unit with no signs of replenishing inventory. A new set of rumors has it that Apple’s next-gen Thunderbolt Display will offer a 5K resolution display of 5120 x 2880 pixels. Sources have also indicated that Apple will take the display in a surprising direction, specifically suggesting that Apple plans to integrate a dedicated external GPU into the display itself.
The idea of a GPU within a display is pretty new, but this might be the new standard for Macs in the future. Due to the immense graphics needs required to push 5K worth of pixels, normal super high-resolution displays require connected computers to include significantly powerful GPUs.
As Apple wants to keep making MacBooks as thin and light as possible, which typically cannot include powerful GPUs by nature, the company has been exploring ways to introduce a 5K display that can be relevant with a wider Mac lineup — it wants to be able to release thin and light MacBooks and MacBook Pros that all work with its 5K external display.
The details on how the new Apple Display connects to a Mac is not clear, but it will almost certainly require the purchase of a new Mac to use the display at full 5K resolution. Connection via a USB-C port over Thunderbolt 3 is the most likely solution. It is doubtful that the current Retina MacBook will be able to take advantage of the display-integrated GPU due to the lack of sufficiently-capable ports. The new Apple Display would be backwards compatible with existing Macs at standard resolutions.
Sources have also indicated that the panel itself will be similar to the display that ships in the Retina iMac. This means the display will likely feature the same DCI P3 color gamut for industry-leading color reproduction and vibrancy. The physical appearance of the Thunderbolt display is almost certainly going to have change to accommodate the new internals but we could not source more information on the new appearance.
Specific details such as a possible release date and pricing have yet to be released, but this could pave the way for some interesting stuff down the road.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.