Apple is reportedly preparing to refresh its long-in-the-tooth 27-inch Thunderbolt Display.
Originally released in the summer of 2011, the current Thunderbolt Display features a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 with an aspect ratio of 16:9. While that was certainly impressive five years ago, there are now plenty of 4K resolution monitors on the market at half the cost. Even Apple’s 27-inch iMac now includes a Retina 5K display with a resolution of 5,120 x 2,880.
Sources familiar with the matter tell 9to5Mac that Apple’s refreshed 27-inch Thunderbolt Display will likely feature a 5K resolution display and include an integrated GPU. Wait, what?
According to sources, Apple wants to ensure that its new 5K display will be compatible with as many Macs as possible. Driving a 5K display is no easy task and may very well be too much for today’s Mac to handle. A dedicated GPU built into the display would make it possible for new and future Macs to work flawlessly with the high-resolution monitor and further enable Apple to thin down its entire line of Macs.
A Mac connected to the new display would be able to intelligently decide if it should use its own GPU or the one built into the monitor. Sources say only one of the GPUs can be used at any given time as both can’t work in tandem for improved performance.
It’s unclear at this time exactly how the new monitor would connect to a Mac although a USB Type-C port over Thunderbolt 3 sounds like the obvious answer. We also don’t know when exactly Apple plans to reveal / launch the new monitor.
WWDC 2016 seems like a good platform for lots of exposure and would no doubt generate applause from developers in the crowd. Whenever it is unveiled, don’t be surprised to see Apple change the name slightly to no longer include the name “Thunderbolt.”