Apple won't release a GPU-equipped Thunderbolt Retina 5K display anytime soon - report

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited June 2016
Though speculation and rumors have been mounting that Apple could introduce a new high-resolution Thunderbolt Display with its own discrete graphics card, a new report pours cold water on those hopes, saying such a device will not be seen at this month's Worldwide Developers Conference -- if ever.

Thunderbolt display


Citing unnamed sources, iMore reported on Thursday that a Thunderbolt-connected monitor with Retina 5K display is "not happening at the keynote or any time in the immediate future." The report did, however, tease that "lots of other amazingly cool stuff" will be unveiled at Apple's June 13 presentation.

The rumblings directly refute an earlier report which suggested Apple could be preparing a Thunderbolt Retina 5K display with its own integrated graphics card. Putting a GPU in the display itself could theoretically ensure that all Macs would be capable of driving the pixels necessary for an ultra-high-resolution screen.

As an extremely niche product in Apple's lineup, the company has shown little interest in its standalone display in recent years. Inventory stockouts have happened repeatedly over the years, helping to create speculation that an update could be forthcoming, but that has yet to happen.

In fact, Apple itself sells alternative displays, like the 4K IGZO Sharp LED monitor, for Mac customers looking for a high-resolution external display.

Thunderbolt technology does allow enough bandwidth for external graphics cards, which some Windows PC makers have taken advantage of, turning portable laptops into gaming powerhouses when docked. Some enthusiasts have even made unofficial workarounds for external GPUs on the Mac, but doing so requires nontrivial hacking and the result is buggy.

With a new Thunderbolt Display apparently off the table, new hardware is not expected at WWDC, where Apple is instead set to focus on the future of iOS and OS X. It's also likely that future updates to tvOS and watchOS will be unveiled at the software-focused conference.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Like Valve choking on the number 3, Apple choked on the idea of putting a decent GPU in something.


    ;-)
    Imbackelijahgjackansisingularity6Sgoldfish
  • Reply 2 of 54
    19831983 Posts: 1,041member
    Very disappointing!
    jackansi6Sgoldfish
  • Reply 3 of 54
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,447member
    Seems like this always happens...Day 1, rumors says this, Day 2, new rumor denies rumor from Day 1. Day 5, new rumor comes back out with something slightly different on the same topic. 
    mike1ai46calijackansitdknox
  • Reply 4 of 54
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,662member
    macxpress said:
    Seems like this always happens...Day 1, rumors says this, Day 2, new rumor denies rumor from Day 1. Day 5, new rumor comes back out with something slightly different on the same topic. 
    Right and whomever spews last is considered gospel.
    calijackansitdknox
  • Reply 5 of 54
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Rumor de-confirms rumor.
    cornchipdysamoria
  • Reply 6 of 54
    netroxnetrox Posts: 592member
    Honestly, why should Apple invest in a monitor display? It just makes no sense, really. Apparently, Apple didn't profit much from Apple Displays.
  • Reply 7 of 54
    Algr_MyxAlgr_Myx Posts: 3member
    Ugg. What was the point of inventing Thunderbolt? They took away firewire, and told us about all these amazing things it could do. Then shipped nothing but boxes that charge you $200 for a SATA port.
    Imbackcnocbuijackansitallest skildysamoria
  • Reply 8 of 54
    roakeroake Posts: 554member
    Though speculation and rumors have been mounting that Apple could introduce a new high-resolution Thunderbolt Display with its own discrete graphics card, a new report pours cold water on those hopes, saying such a device will not be seen at this month's Worldwide Developers Conference -- if ever.

    Thunderbolt display


    Citing unnamed sources, iMore reported on Thursday that a Thunderbolt-connected monitor with Retina 5K display is "not happening at the keynote or any time in the immediate future." The report did, however, tease that "lots of other amazingly cool stuff" will be unveiled at Apple's June 13 presentation.

    The rumblings directly refute an earlier report which suggested Apple could be preparing a Thunderbolt Retina 5K display with its own integrated graphics card. Putting a GPU in the display itself could theoretically ensure that all Macs would be capable of driving the pixels necessary for an ultra-high-resolution screen.

    As an extremely niche product in Apple's lineup, the company has shown little interest in its standalone display in recent years. Inventory stockouts have happened repeatedly over the years, helping to create speculation that an update could be forthcoming, but that has yet to happen.

    In fact, Apple itself sells alternative displays, like the 4K IGZO Sharp LED monitor, for Mac customers looking for a high-resolution external display.

    Thunderbolt technology does allow enough bandwidth for external graphics cards, which some Windows PC makers have taken advantage of, turning portable laptops into gaming powerhouses when docked. Some enthusiasts have even made unofficial workarounds for external GPUs on the Mac, but doing so requires nontrivial hacking and the result is buggy.

    With a new Thunderbolt Display apparently off the table, new hardware is not expected at WWDC, where Apple is instead set to focus on the future of iOS and OS X. It's also likely that future updates to tvOS and watchOS will be unveiled at the software-focused conference.
    iMore?  Isn't that site pure ads with the occasional snippet of text that they call news?

    EDIT: Ha, two dislikes instantly.  I apologize for saying they have snippets of news.  That was probably overly generous; you have close so many popups before you get to the snippets that most people probably give up.  But at least you will ALWAYS find a "iPhone case deal" for only $15-$20.
    edited June 2016 cornchip
  • Reply 9 of 54
    Algr_Myx said:
    Ugg. What was the point of inventing Thunderbolt? They took away firewire, and told us about all these amazing things it could do. Then shipped nothing but boxes that charge you $200 for a SATA port.
    Thunderbolt can do a lot of really cool things. You can even buy an external PCI-Express expansion box, which would let you do pretty much anything. I was super stoked when TB came out. Unfortunately, the price for pretty much everything TB is just too high for any of it to matter, and it seems intrinsic to the technology itself (even the cables need fancy circuitry in them).
    cnocbuielijahgtdknoxroakedysamoria
  • Reply 10 of 54
    minisu1980minisu1980 Posts: 109member
    This would be another fantastic use of Thunderbolts insane bandwidth. In theory a PCIe 3.0 SSD with NVMe should run at nearly identical speed to an equivalent internal SSD even with Thunderbolts encoding overhead. This is what the Mac Pro platform was teeing up for with Apple once again a head of the pack. Makes sense that the graphics card should or could resided in a very high end monitor.
  • Reply 11 of 54
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,523member
    Algr_Myx said:
    Ugg. What was the point of inventing Thunderbolt? They took away firewire, and told us about all these amazing things it could do. Then shipped nothing but boxes that charge you $200 for a SATA port.

    Thunderbolt isn't an Apple invention. It's an Intel invention. Thunderbolt also has enough bandwidth. It's that DisplayPort 1.2 can't support 5k. 1.3 can, but Intel won't be adding support for that into its chips until late 2017. Not muc Apple can do about that.
    stevenozpatchythepiratetdknoxnolamacguycornchip
  • Reply 12 of 54
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,013member
    netrox said:
    Honestly, why should Apple invest in a monitor display? It just makes no sense, really. Apparently, Apple didn't profit much from Apple Displays.
    Algr_Myx said:
    Ugg. What was the point of inventing Thunderbolt? They took away firewire, and told us about all these amazing things it could do. Then shipped nothing but boxes that charge you $200 for a SATA port.
    Thunderbolt can do a lot of really cool things. You can even buy an external PCI-Express expansion box, which would let you do pretty much anything. I was super stoked when TB came out. Unfortunately, the price for pretty much everything TB is just too high for any of it to matter, and it seems intrinsic to the technology itself (even the cables need fancy circuitry in them).
    The economics of this just didn't add up. It could be that nascent technology like this is unpredictable as to whether or not it will scale. I think this is why Munster's oft-predicted TV never showed up: Apple knows it has shockingly low margins, and true innovation highly unlikely. (My personal opinion is that this will be the case for the "Apple Car" as well.)

    Third party monitors have taken off, and it is something of a race to the bottom of the price scale - something Apple has never gotten involved in.
    mike1cornchip
  • Reply 13 of 54
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    melgross said:
    Algr_Myx said:
    Ugg. What was the point of inventing Thunderbolt? They took away firewire, and told us about all these amazing things it could do. Then shipped nothing but boxes that charge you $200 for a SATA port.

    Thunderbolt isn't an Apple invention. It's an Intel invention. Thunderbolt also has enough bandwidth. It's that DisplayPort 1.2 can't support 5k. 1.3 can, but Intel won't be adding support for that into its chips until late 2017. Not muc Apple can do about that.
    It was co-devloped by Apple.
    tallest skildysamoriaRayz2016
  • Reply 14 of 54
    VisualSeedVisualSeed Posts: 217member
    Algr_Myx said:
    Ugg. What was the point of inventing Thunderbolt? They took away firewire, and told us about all these amazing things it could do. Then shipped nothing but boxes that charge you $200 for a SATA port.
    Thunderbolt can do a lot of really cool things. You can even buy an external PCI-Express expansion box, which would let you do pretty much anything. I was super stoked when TB came out. Unfortunately, the price for pretty much everything TB is just too high for any of it to matter, and it seems intrinsic to the technology itself (even the cables need fancy circuitry in them).
    Yeah, you can buy a PCI-Express expansion box to fill with cards to add back the ports Apple removed from your computer. ;) I'm not really criticizing Apple on this, some of the legacy stuff just had to go, but the promise of TB as a USB and Firewire replacement didn't seem to pan out. While, I love it for my external drives, if they didn't also have a USB3 interface on them, they would be useless to me to move from machine to machine in my current workflow. Thunderbolt for all it's potential and despite a few third parties embracing it, has just become Apple's proprietary display adapter. 
    jackansi
  • Reply 15 of 54
    Algr_MyxAlgr_Myx Posts: 3member
    durandal_1707 said:
    You can even buy an external PCI-Express expansion box, which would let you do pretty much anything.
    But such a box costs more than an entire Windows PC with the same ports!  Meanwhile OS X has deteriorated horribly.  It is no longer any easier to use or more reliable than Windows.  Apple has either forgotten that the Finder exists or seems to want to eliminate it.  They are actively fighting against usability.  (Try reading a USB memory stick on iOS.)  It's like those old Mac Bashers are running the company now.
    cnocbui
  • Reply 16 of 54
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 2,889member
    Another tweet from Rene says to expect a software focused WWDC. I can only imagine the uproar if Apple doesn't announce any new Macs at WWDC. Either Apple's throwing that out there to throw us off and create a surprise or there's going to be a lot of disappointed people. I know WWDC is a developers conference and should be mostly about software but many of those developers use Macs and a lot of Apple's Mac hardware is out of date at this point.
  • Reply 17 of 54
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,622member
    melgross said:
    Thunderbolt isn't an Apple invention. It's an Intel invention. Thunderbolt also has enough bandwidth. It's that DisplayPort 1.2 can't support 5k. 1.3 can, but Intel won't be adding support for that into its chips until late 2017. Not muc Apple can do about that.
    From Mac Rumors

    MacBook Pro

    The Mid 2015 15" MacBook Pro with AMD Radeon R9 M370X graphics can also drive one 5K display connected with two Thunderbolt cables. 
    http://www.macrumors.com/guide/4k-5k-displays-buyers-guide-mac/
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 18 of 54
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,447member
    Another tweet from Rene says to expect a software focused WWDC. I can only imagine the uproar if Apple doesn't announce any new Macs at WWDC. Either Apple's throwing that out there to throw us off and create a surprise or there's going to be a lot of disappointed people. I know WWDC is a developers conference and should be mostly about software but many of those developers use Macs and a lot of Apple's Mac hardware is out of date at this point.

    Doesn't matter what Apple announces/releases, there's going to be disappointment, doom & gloom, etc. Frankly, WWDC is a software conference, not a hardware conference so if it wants to use its time to focus on software I can't really fault them on that. Why take away from some possible amazing features of iOS/Mac OS with some kind of hardware announcement. 
    tdknox
  • Reply 19 of 54
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,468member
    Algr_Myx said:
    Ugg. What was the point of inventing Thunderbolt? They took away firewire, and told us about all these amazing things it could do. Then shipped nothing but boxes that charge you $200 for a SATA port.
    Thunderbolt can do a lot of really cool things. You can even buy an external PCI-Express expansion box, which would let you do pretty much anything. I was super stoked when TB came out. Unfortunately, the price for pretty much everything TB is just too high for any of it to matter, and it seems intrinsic to the technology itself (even the cables need fancy circuitry in them).
    Yeah, you can buy a PCI-Express expansion box to fill with cards to add back the ports Apple removed from your computer. I'm not really criticizing Apple on this, some of the legacy stuff just had to go, but the promise of TB as a USB and Firewire replacement didn't seem to pan out. While, I love it for my external drives, if they didn't also have a USB3 interface on them, they would be useless to me to move from machine to machine in my current workflow. Thunderbolt for all it's potential and despite a few third parties embracing it, has just become Apple's proprietary display adapter. 
    This is because TB was never promised to be a replacement for USB and FireWire. Rather it was intended to be a replacement for internal slots. I'm not sure how this myth got started but the reality is that USB is already much faster than it needs to be for the majority of the uses it is put to. TB has wide usage as a port for connecting professional devices. The problem is consumers aren't exposed to these devices just like they aren't exposed to PCI-Express cards. When is the last time a consumer bought a special purpose PCI-Express card? For the most part it just doesn't happen unless they have advanced "hobby" interest. You can whine all you want about TB but you end up highlighting your misunderstanding of the technology.
    nolamacguysphericfastasleepcornchip
  • Reply 20 of 54
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,468member
    Another tweet from Rene says to expect a software focused WWDC. I can only imagine the uproar if Apple doesn't announce any new Macs at WWDC. Either Apple's throwing that out there to throw us off and create a surprise or there's going to be a lot of disappointed people. I know WWDC is a developers conference and should be mostly about software but many of those developers use Macs and a lot of Apple's Mac hardware is out of date at this point.
    WWDC has always been "software focused" but at the same time the have almost always had hardware to debut. It is hard to imagine this WWDC going off without hardware updates before, during or right after the Week of WWDC. It might not be all Macs but it will be enough to fan interests. The reason this would happen is pretty simple Intel has finally started to ship the right hardware for Apple to actually update its hardware.

    By the way one important concoct often missed by people there are hardware developers and software developers both of which attend WWDC.
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