Apple discontinues Thunderbolt Display, no replacement announced

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2016
After going years without update, Apple has decided to discontinue the Thunderbolt Display, marking an end to the company's current first-party monitor product line and sparking speculation that a high-resolution replacement is in the offing.




The surprise end-of-life announcement came by way of a quiet confirmation to The Verge on Thursday.

"We're discontinuing the Apple Thunderbolt Display," an Apple spokesperson said. "It will be available through Apple.com, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last. There are a number of great third-party options available for Mac users."

No mention was made of a replacement to the $999 piece of kit, though it has long been speculated that Apple is working on a 4K or 5K upgrade. The most recent rumblings suggested the company was preparing a Thunderbolt Display with 5K Retina display that included its own graphics card, though a subsequent report poured cold water on those claims. Incorporating a GPU capable of driving ultra high-resolutions would theoretically ensure compatibility with almost any modern Mac.

Not a main product category for Apple, the Thunderbolt Display has gone untouched since 2011. Fans of the monitor's design and ease of use have not so patiently awaited a hardware refresh, but the product seems to be a low-priority concern. Hope were most recently rekindled in March when the display saw shipping times slip in Europe.

Whether Apple plans to launch a Thunderbolt Display successor or simply leave the monitor business altogether remains unknown. For now, however, it appears the company is putting in-house display efforts toward the all-in-one iMac lineup, which currently comes in 4K and 5K Retina display flavors.

With Apple's Thunderbolt Display officially in retirement, those in the market for an external monitor can check out AppleInsider's roundup of the best alternatives.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 65
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member
    Ahh. Death by withering on the vine. Such a noble way to go out.
    john.b
  • Reply 2 of 65
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,297member
    Sounds like Apple is getting out of the display business.
  • Reply 3 of 65
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,389member
    I wouldn't be surprised if they release a USB-C 5K display down the road.
    TurboPGT
  • Reply 4 of 65
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    For fuck’s sake. This isn’t acceptable. Are they going to bring back the standalone iSight, then?
    stimpypulseimagesindiekiduk
  • Reply 5 of 65
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,291member
    I am still waiting for someone to complain that Apple just killed 'Thunderbolt'. :D
  • Reply 6 of 65
    stimpystimpy Posts: 16member
    Their head is so far up their *ss they use typical Apple "how to say no in a positive" "there are many great displays out there." Can you imagine going to buy a 3K Mac Pro at a retail store and they will be programmed not to tell you which monitor to buy unless its on the Apple Store website. I remember buying a new Mac when the Studio Display were discontinued and this was before the more aggressive employee programming.  They actually told me to go buy a Dell monitor. Great I'm at Apple buying a mac and they are advising me to go buy a Dell monitor because the poor employees were left with nothing to sell and a bag of crap with cranky people like me.
    edited June 2016 kermit4krazypulseimagesdamonfxzu
  • Reply 7 of 65
    anomeanome Posts: 1,482member
    I expect there will be a new monitor at some point, possibly due for launch with the new MacBooks. It's either that, or they'll sell you a 5K iMac you can use as an external monitor for your MacBook.
  • Reply 8 of 65
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 1,010member
    I have the 27" LED Cinema Display that precluded the Thunderbolt, and I freakin love it. One downside is it does give off a ton of heat and turns my small bedroom into a sauna in the summer. All my friends very impressed with the size of the screen. I use it as my main screen for movie watching, video games, video editing, and word processing. I couldn't imagine living without it. Instead of screens getting smaller they should be getting bigger. At some point we're going to get sick of writing papers with our thumbs. 
    justadcomicsjbdragonbaconstang
  • Reply 9 of 65
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 1,070member
    tyler82 said:
    I have the 27" LED Cinema Display that precluded the Thunderbolt, and I freakin love it. One downside is it does give off a ton of heat and turns my small bedroom into a sauna in the summer. All my friends very impressed with the size of the screen. I use it as my main screen for movie watching, video games, video editing, and word processing. I couldn't imagine living without it. Instead of screens getting smaller they should be getting bigger. At some point we're going to get sick of writing papers with our thumbs. 
    Monitors ARE getting bigger:

    http://www.eizoglobal.com/products/coloredge/cg318-4k/

    That's what sits on my desk.

    edit: I anticipate howling over the price.

    Here is a page that shows the price of the original Apple Cinema Display, the spiritual great, great grandfather of the Thunderbolt display:

    http://www.everymac.com/monitors/apple/studio_cinema/specs/apple_cinema_display.html
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 10 of 65
    macxpress said:
    I wouldn't be surprised if they release a USB-C 5K display down the road.
    In the meantime, people will just buy monitors made by someone else like Samsung. 
    jbdragon6Sgoldfishxzu
  • Reply 11 of 65
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,990member
    I have this monitor.  The monitor display itself is fantastic.  The only gripes I have with it is the crazy amount of heat it generates and the durability of the magsafe/thunderbolt cable which is right at the edge of fraying on the connector end.  Apple should have engineered a more durable cable end since it gets a lot of abuse from being plugged in and out for me.

    I'd hate to think that Apple may exit the display business.   That leaves owners of the Mac Pro and MacBook Pros out of luck.  It doesn't make sense.  I can only hope it's just to make room for the a 4K or 5K display which would be super-sweet.

    Having the display connected via Thunderbolt gave me reason to buy it.  It's just so convenient to have all my ports on the back of the display where and stay connected instead of on my laptop.

    Give me a thin 5K display with all the new thunderbolt options, and I just may be tempted.
  • Reply 12 of 65
    Wonder if this is part of a plan to pave the way for all Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports on all Mac devices?
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 13 of 65
    I'm always amazed by things like this. Apple has about 60,000 employees. About half of them are working on the retail side, and the other 30k or so work for corporate. There weren't 100-200 people they could dedicate to designing and engineering a replacement display, oh, at some point over the past 5 years?? The company also has more money stockpiled than any other company on earth. Yes, I know that most of it is overseas, but the same goes for all the other huge companies too. They could have freed up some funds, is all I'm saying. 

    Slowly but surely they're dropping more and more product lines to make room for more iPhone SKUs. They act like a rose gold phone is a big deal. No, a new Mac mini would be a big deal. A new Macbook with two ports would be a big deal. A new Macbook Pro with user-serviceable parts would be a big deal. A new version of Aperture would have been a big deal. A new Mac Pro would be a big deal. A new Thunderbolt display would have been a big deal.

    Sorry, just been frustrated with Apple lately. I still love them, but I need a new Macbook Pro to replace my aging 2011 13" that I got new for $1,100 and then upgraded to a 1TB SSD and 16GB RAM myself, but I can't afford to pay Apple $2,500 for something new but comparable. 
    stimpymobiuspulseimagesentropysdamonfjasenj1xzuwozwoz
  • Reply 14 of 65
    There seems to be a notion here, held by some, that professional users don't know how to do product research. Nobody is "out of luck," there are PLENTY of options available to Mac users requiring an external display. I'm loving my LG Thunderbolt 34" display. The 21:9 aspect ratio is incredibly useful for the media apps I use. Now there are dozens of 4K displays available for almost half the price of the Thunderbolt Display. 
    nolamacguymobiuspulseimageslolliverbrucemc
  • Reply 15 of 65
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member
    I'm always amazed by things like this. Apple has about 60,000 employees. About half of them are working on the retail side, and the other 30k or so work for corporate. There weren't 100-200 people they could dedicate to designing and engineering a replacement display, oh, at some point over the past 5 years?? The company also has more money stockpiled than any other company on earth. Yes, I know that most of it is overseas, but the same goes for all the other huge companies too. They could have freed up some funds, is all I'm saying. 

    Slowly but surely they're dropping more and more product lines to make room for more iPhone SKUs. They act like a rose gold phone is a big deal. No, a new Mac mini would be a big deal. A new Macbook with two ports would be a big deal. A new Macbook Pro with user-serviceable parts would be a big deal. A new version of Aperture would have been a big deal. A new Mac Pro would be a big deal. A new Thunderbolt display would have been a big deal.

    Sorry, just been frustrated with Apple lately. I still love them, but I need a new Macbook Pro to replace my aging 2011 13" that I got new for $1,100 and then upgraded to a 1TB SSD and 16GB RAM myself, but I can't afford to pay Apple $2,500 for something new but comparable. 
    Apple has 100k+ employees.
    tallest skilpscooter63
  • Reply 16 of 65
    karmadavekarmadave Posts: 368member
    Plenty of affordable 4K monitors on the market. While I would like to see Apple release a 4K (or 5K) monitor there are plenty of options on the market. Reminds me of when Apple abandoned printers. Users complained but found lots of suitable options...
    nolamacguyxzulolliver
  • Reply 17 of 65
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,740member
    Apple has long since stopped giving a f*ck about Mac hardware. And not just the TB Display, the minis are left to languish for years and now the Mac Pros have achieved the same status.  I'd rather see a company with the massive resources of Apple shutter the entire Mac lineup than to see them just mail it in year after year. 
    tallest skilpulseimageskermit4krazyxzu
  • Reply 18 of 65
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 1,248member
    Judging from how much the iOS10 keynote covered it's not surprising that hardware didn't get a single mention - presenters literally bolted on and off the stage this year.

    Everything is aligning for a stellar MacBook Pro update. It's looking like this model will feature some distinctive design changes and a port that can run a 5k display. Apple displays are purchased primarily by MBP and Mac Pro customers (with MBP being a significantly larger audience). It's understandable why Apple didn't release a 5k display that used two plugs since that would only help out Mac Pro users as well as being a port pig.

    I'm guessing the next announcement will be MBP/Watch2/OMT: Display (more than just a screen this time)
  • Reply 19 of 65
    why-why- Posts: 305member
    d'you think they'll stop making macs with thunderbolt ports then?
  • Reply 20 of 65
    I'm always amazed by things like this. Apple has about 60,000 employees. About half of them are working on the retail side, and the other 30k or so work for corporate. There weren't 100-200 people they could dedicate to designing and engineering a replacement display, oh, at some point over the past 5 years?? The company also has more money stockpiled than any other company on earth. Yes, I know that most of it is overseas, but the same goes for all the other huge companies too. They could have freed up some funds, is all I'm saying. 

    Slowly but surely they're dropping more and more product lines to make room for more iPhone SKUs. They act like a rose gold phone is a big deal. No, a new Mac mini would be a big deal. A new Macbook with two ports would be a big deal. A new Macbook Pro with user-serviceable parts would be a big deal. A new version of Aperture would have been a big deal. A new Mac Pro would be a big deal. A new Thunderbolt display would have been a big deal.

    Sorry, just been frustrated with Apple lately. I still love them, but I need a new Macbook Pro to replace my aging 2011 13" that I got new for $1,100 and then upgraded to a 1TB SSD and 16GB RAM myself, but I can't afford to pay Apple $2,500 for something new but comparable. 
    Apple has 100k+ employees.
    Which makes it even MORE astounding that they can't free up maybe a tenth of 1% of them (100ppl) to engineer a new Thunderbolt display. 
    wozwoz
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