Apple may launch a new ultra-high definition 27-inch monitor later this year, according to LCD market research firm WitsView (via Digitimes). The firm claims that the display will boast a 5120 x 2880 resolution, which would be significantly higher than the 2560 x 1440 resolution found on the current Apple Thunderbolt Display.

applethunderboltdisplay_sep14
However, it is unknown as to how exactly Apple would power such a high resolution display with the current DisplayPort 1.2 standard used in Thunderbolt 2. A number of Apple's computers including the Mac Pro (late 2013), 27-inch iMac (late 2013), and Retina MacBook Pro (late 2013 and mid 2014) are able to power 4K displays with one Thunderbolt port, but can only do so at designated refresh rates.

It is more likely that Apple would release a new monitor with a "Cinema 4K" resolution of 4096 x 2160, which is the maximum supported resolution by the DisplayPort 1.2 standard. Such a monitor would also be able to take advantage of the 20 Gbps data transfer rate of Thunderbolt 2 to stabilize performance at a high resolution.

An 27-inch 5K ultra high-definition monitor from Apple would also come after Dell's 5K display, which was announced last month and boast a 5120 x 2880 resolution at 218 pixels per inch. It is also unknown as to what technology Dell with use to power the monitor, although AnandTech speculates that the company may use Multi-Stream Transport (MST) to stitch together two 2560 x 2880 panels in order to provide 5120 pixels horizontally.

Apple's Thunderbolt Display debuted nearly three years ago, although it is hard to predict when the company will unveil a new monitor based the erratic upgrade cycle of past displays. In addition to a higher-resolution screen, a new Apple display would also likely feature an iMac-like design and USB 3.0.

Related Roundup: Apple Pro Display XDR
Related Forum: Mac Accessories

Top Rated Comments

Pakaku Avatar
93 months ago
Meh... Let me say it again.. Meh... I've really no interest in getting a 4k or 5k screen that is so hard on the graphic's card that it can hardly play any games.

I'm getting my LG 34UM94 (not the 95, thats old, had issues, only 1 year warranty) - It's an awesome UltraWide 34" 3440 x 1440p screen with 3 year warranty. As a bonus it has two Thunderbolt 2 ports, 2 HDMI, 1 Display port, three USB3 and is only 30% harder to run than a standard 27" 1440p screen.

This should last me years to come....

You're not the intended audience if you think a few-thousand-dollar 5K screeen is for gaming...
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jsameds Avatar
93 months ago
Meh... Let me say it again.. Meh... I've really no interest in getting a 4k or 5k screen that is so hard on the graphic's card that it can hardly play any games.

Lol this screen isn't for gaming haha
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BornAgainMac Avatar
93 months ago
I hope they keep the current 27-inch around but cut the price in half. It is over priced right now.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
93 months ago
Meh... Let me say it again.. Meh... I've really no interest in getting a 4k or 5k screen that is so hard on the graphic's card that it can hardly play any games.

I'm getting my LG 34UM94 (not the 95, thats old, had issues, only 1 year warranty) - It's an awesome UltraWide 34" 3440 x 1440p screen with 3 year warranty. As a bonus it has two Thunderbolt 2 ports, 2 HDMI, 1 Display port, three USB3 and is only 30% harder to run than a standard 27" 1440p screen.

This should last me years to come....

Can't believe this is the top comment. Most Apple users aren't Apple users for gaming, and most Thunderbolt Display (and Cinema before them) purchasers are graphic designers, video editors, photographers, etc. We buy quality monitors not for the fast refresh rate or anything else but for the quality of the image on screen. With us designers having to make higher and higher pixel density graphics assets for all of these retina devices, the extra pixels are definitely worth the money to professionals.

Anyway, the main reason I'm holding out on upgrading my Mac is that I'm waiting to see how this whole situation shakes out. I don't want to buy something that won't be able to run these next-generation displays. I can't wait to get them, but I just hope they don't cost a whole lot more than the current one does. Ideally a new Mac Pro and TB2 Display will be out by this time next year and I can upgrade then. Could one of the things delaying this launch be requiring Thunderbolt 3? The current Thunderbolt displays also run USB, ethernet and other stuff you can plug into the back. Can Thunderbolt 2 handle an upgrade to 5K (cinema 4K or whatever) and several USB 3.0 ports? We might need to upgrade to that 50Gb/s or 100Gb/s fiber optic Thunderbolt stuff Intel has been working on for a while now. But that's just speculation on my part.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
solamar Avatar
93 months ago
Meh... Let me say it again.. Meh... I've really no interest in getting a 4k or 5k screen that is so hard on the graphic's card that it can hardly play any games.

I'm getting my LG 34UM94 (not the 95, thats old, had issues, only 1 year warranty) - It's an awesome UltraWide 34" 3440 x 1440p screen with 3 year warranty. As a bonus it has two Thunderbolt 2 ports, 2 HDMI, 1 Display port, three USB3 and is only 30% harder to run than a standard 27" 1440p screen.

This should last me years to come....
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
repoman27 Avatar
93 months ago
...The firm claims that the display will boast a 5120 x 2880 resolution, which would be significantly higher than the 2560 x 1440 resolution found on the current Apple Thunderbolt Display (ttp://www.macrumors.com/roundup/displays/)...
Or, you know, exactly 4x the resolution.

However, it is unknown as to how exactly Apple would power such a high resolution display with the current DisplayPort 1.2 standard used in Thunderbolt 2 (https://www.apple.com/thunderbolt/). A number of Apple's computers including the Mac Pro (late 2013), 27-inch iMac (late 2013), and Retina MacBook Pro (late 2013 and mid 2014) are able to power 4K displays (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6008) with one Thunderbolt port, but can only do so at designated refresh rates...
Well, not so much designated as simply limited by the available bandwidth of the interface used.

It is more likely that Apple would release a new monitor with a "Cinema 4K" resolution of 4096 x 2160, which is the maximum supported resolution by the DisplayPort 1.2 standard. Such a monitor would also be able to take advantage of the 20 Gbps data transfer rate of Thunderbolt 2 to stabilize performance at a high resolution...
There isn't really a set maximum resolution for DisplayPort, just limits to the maximum available bandwidth. If you drop the color depth and refresh rate down, you can go way higher than 4096 x 2160. Even if you're talking about 24 bpp, 60 Hz, DP 1.2 can still do 4096 x 2560. And seriously, what does that last bit even mean!!!

An 27-inch 5K ultra high-definition monitor from Apple would also come after Dell's 5K display (https://www.macrumors.com/2014/09/05/dell-5k-display/), which was announced last month and boast a 5120 x 2880 resolution at 218 pixels per inch. It is also unknown as to what technology Dell with use to power the monitor, although AnandTech (http://www.anandtech.com/show/8496/dell-previews-27inch-5k-ultrasharp-monitor-5120x2880) speculates that the company may use Multi-Stream Transport (MST) to stitch together two 2560 x 2880 panels in order to provide 5120 pixels horizontally...
Most people power monitors with electricity...

Although Ian over at Anandtech revised his speculation at least once due to a math derp, I'm pretty sure he never implied that two panels would be used, merely that the panel would be driven as multiple tiles in the same way that pretty much all current 4K displays are. And despite mentions of MST in the comments section, the article clearly states that two DP 1.2 connections were most likely. MST or no, a single DP 1.2 / Thunderbolt 2 port cannot drive a 5120 x 2880 display at 24 bpp, 60 Hz. DP 1.2 only goes up to 17.28 Gbit/s and HDMI 2.0 up to 14.4 Gbit/s, whereas a single 2560 x 2880, 24 bpp, 60 Hz tile would require just over 11.6 Gbit/s. This display would need two cables to support 60 Hz operation.

Can't make a retina Air this year? Yet making a 5K display for this year already?

I'll have to see it to believe it. None of those mobile CPUs / GPUs in the current iMacs can run 5K with multiple displays while simultaneously editing 4K content smoothly.
Good thing the new $1099 21.5-inch iMac is the only iMac to ever use a mobile CPU, and the 27-inch is available with up to a Core i7-4771 and GTX 780M (mobile GPU yes, but certainly no slouch).

Meh... Let me say it again.. Meh... I've really no interest in getting a 4k or 5k screen that is so hard on the graphic's card that it can hardly play any games.

I'm getting my LG 34UM94 (not the 95, thats old, had issues, only 1 year warranty) - It's an awesome UltraWide 34" 3440 x 1440p screen with 3 year warranty. As a bonus it has two Thunderbolt 2 ports, 2 HDMI, 1 Display port, three USB3 and is only 30% harder to run than a standard 27" 1440p screen.

This should last me years to come....
Well, see that's exactly why you do want a 5120 x 2880 resolution, so you can game at 2560 x 1440 which the GPU can handle and then scale effortlessly to the display's native resolution. 2D stuff is not an issue at these resolutions, so you can enjoy super sharp text and UI elements with no aliasing at any scaling factor when you're not gaming.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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