Apple said to be testing a new external display with a dedicated A13 Bionic SoC

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,506   +132
Staff member
Editor's take: Apple is reportedly testing a new display that could serve as the successor to the Pro Display XDR that first hit the scene in December 2019. Should it materialize as described, it could be a real powerhouse that augments the computer attached to it.

Sources familiar with the matter told 9to5Mac that Apple’s new display, codenamed J327, will feature an Apple-made SoC – perhaps even the A13 Bionic chip from the iPhone 11 family. A display with an integrated chip could help Macs handle high-resolution graphics without taxing the computer’s processor, or perhaps enable smart features like AirPlay.

The display will also reportedly feature a neural engine to accelerate machine learning tasks. It’s unclear how exactly Apple would use the neural engine in a display.

The publication noted that Apple’s plans could change, highlighting how the original Pro Display XDR didn’t debut with all of the features it was rumored to contain. We also don’t have a timeline for the new display nor do we know any of its other specifications outside of the few tidbits mentioned above.

The rumor mill earlier this year suggested Apple is also working on a lower-priced external monitor. When the report dropped in January, it was described as being in the early development phase and could debut as a successor to the Thunderbolt Display that Apple discontinued in 2016.

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VitalyT

Posts: 5,946   +6,205
Ideal product for people with more money than sense.

LG, for example, offers 8K screens with HDR-2000, for one third of the price.


 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,109   +2,103
Interesting concept: normally you would assume that the compute device attached to it should handle the resolution scaling and image processing but in this case it looks like they might want to experiment with having thin clients everywhere so even a low powered device like a smart watch that can stream the high quality content while potentially off-loading the otherwise heavy image processing to the screen itself with the co-processor A13 on the screen doing more heavy lifting than the thin client device.

This approach would be supremely impractical for almost any other company but since Apple do have tight control of a full ecosystem they can probably distribute compute power in places one wouldn't expect.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 553   +426
Interesting concept: normally you would assume that the compute device attached to it should handle the resolution scaling and image processing but in this case it looks like they might want to experiment with having thin clients everywhere so even a low powered device like a smart watch that can stream the high quality content while potentially off-loading the otherwise heavy image processing to the screen itself with the co-processor A13 on the screen doing more heavy lifting than the thin client device.

This approach would be supremely impractical for almost any other company but since Apple do have tight control of a full ecosystem they can probably distribute compute power in places one wouldn't expect.

Well you do get those chunky PCs on a screen - but as I commented else where - with all the new SOCs coming in the next 5 years - expect this more common on monitors and TVs - ie why bring PC out of sleep mode - just to browse some news - or just play some arcade games on your TV - no box required -plus google/amazon BT connection to boot
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,109   +2,103
Well you do get those chunky PCs on a screen - but as I commented else where - with all the new SOCs coming in the next 5 years - expect this more common on monitors and TVs - ie why bring PC out of sleep mode - just to browse some news - or just play some arcade games on your TV - no box required -plus google/amazon BT connection to boot
Most smart tvs work like that already so smart monitors are probably the next thing on the horizon but an A13 bionic is way overkill for smart tv functionality. Maybe if it's 4k (Or beyond) HDR processing I could see the screen using some of the power behind an A13 but even then it's weird.

I would guess there's some other ML/Predictive stuff for it, maybe for some sort of refresh rate tech G-Sync style?
 

ypsylon

Posts: 397   +330
Just imagine if they put A13 chip in the stand. It would cost 3000$ and have functions like pivot which is truly amazing. :D

OK, LOLing a bit, but seriously it's interesting idea. With such tightly integrated ecosystem it has some legs. Certainly even with extra features monitor still wouldn't be worth 5000-6000$. In truth ProDispXDR IS (not probably) the worst display Apple ever released in terms of purely matrix quality, also coming at ridiculous premium.
 

Nobina

Posts: 3,341   +3,425
Just imagine if they put A13 chip in the stand. It would cost 3000$ and have functions like pivot which is truly amazing. :D

OK, LOLing a bit, but seriously it's interesting idea. With such tightly integrated ecosystem it has some legs. Certainly even with extra features monitor still wouldn't be worth 5000-6000$. In truth ProDispXDR IS (not probably) the worst display Apple ever released in terms of purely matrix quality, also coming at ridiculous premium.
Just wait till the gaming industry learns of this. Gaming mousepad with octa-core SoC powered RGB lighting with 8GB of RAM!
 

Inthenstus

Posts: 62   +73
TechSpot Elite
Interesting concept: normally you would assume that the compute device attached to it should handle the resolution scaling and image processing but in this case it looks like they might want to experiment with having thin clients everywhere so even a low powered device like a smart watch that can stream the high quality content while potentially off-loading the otherwise heavy image processing to the screen itself with the co-processor A13 on the screen doing more heavy lifting than the thin client device.

This approach would be supremely impractical for almost any other company but since Apple do have tight control of a full ecosystem they can probably distribute compute power in places one wouldn't expect.

This was my take away as well, and what I incision the future of computers to be like. One day everyone will carry their gaming PC in their pockets, connect it to a display and if they go. Having a display with additional horsepower makes perfect sense in this case. Interested to see how this turns out.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,109   +2,103
This was my take away as well, and what I incision the future of computers to be like. One day everyone will carry their gaming PC in their pockets, connect it to a display and if they go. Having a display with additional horsepower makes perfect sense in this case. Interested to see how this turns out.
Yep: right now there's some push to get people into cloud streaming for their gaming needs, but games really don't need that much computational power that they absolutely need large computers cluster. I consider those services a stop gap between now and the future where any device like mobiles will just be able to game and any device that's permanently in place like a TV or other appliances can quietly contribute computational power enough to just amplify some aspects of the basic game that can already run on any mobile device you happen to have: IoT becomes your own cloud basically.