Apple left the standalone display market back in 2016 when it discontinued sales of its Thunderbolt Display. However, the company appears to have made a U-turn, confirming in April 2017 that it has plans to make a new standalone display to go with the new Mac Pro currently in development.
The revelation came when three Apple execs were speaking about the company’s plans for the Mac Pro. It was revealed that a new display is in the works at Apple, expected to ship in 2019 alongside the redesigned Mac Pro.
Apple’s head of marketing Phil Schiller said: “As part of doing a new Mac Pro — it is, by definition, a modular system — we will be doing a pro display as well.”
In this article we will assess when Apple is likely to start to sell this new stand-alone display; whether this display is likely to be 5K like the iMacs, 6K, or even 8K; and how much it’s likely to cost.
The latest indication is that Apple’s new display will be a 31.6in 6K monitor and it will be introduced in the third quarter of 2019 – more on that below.
You might also be interested in reading about How to connect two screens to a Macand Best screens for Mac.
When will Apple launch a new display?
It’s been a very long time since Apple last launched a display. The Apple 27in Thunderbolt Display first went on sale in July 2011. It offered what would now be considered a poor 2560 x 1440 resolution that can’t even match the 2560 x 1600 of the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, and is dwarfed by the 5K iMac’s 5120 x 2880.
We’ve been hoping for some years now that the company would update its monitors. Sources predicted that a new Apple external 5K monitor, complete with integrated GPU, would be unveiled at WWDC 2016, but no hardware of any kind was unveiled at the company’s summer bash and instead Apple removed the display from sale.
But back in 2017 the company had a change of heart and has revealed that it will start to sell a new display when it launches the new Mac Pro.
As for when that new display might go on sale, that probably depends a lot on the development of the new Mac Pro, but Apple has confirmed that will go on sale in 2019.
In addition, well respected Apple analyst Ming Chi Kuo wrote in a February 2019 investor note that he expects Apple to release a 31.6-inch 6K monitor in 2019. In a further note, published in April 2019 Kuo reiterated his claims and suggested that the screen would launch in the second or third quarter of 2019. More on Kuo’s predictions below.
Apple tends to make announcements relating to the Mac Pro at WWDC, so it’s feasible that we could learn more about it’s plans for the Mac Pro, and the accompanying display, at WWDC in June 2019.
The new display will be designed for Mac Pro users, but Apple may want to push its range of displays to the MacBook market as well, encouraging owners of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro to purchase a second screen.
What has Apple revealed about its new display?
Apple hasn’t said a lot about its new display, other than to confirm that one is in the works. However, the company has spoken at length about its drive to meet the demands and needs of the professional and creative markets.
Speaking to TechCrunch in April 2018, Apple explained just how seriously it is taking the project. The company revealed that it has made some changes to help it better understand the needs of pro customers and developers.
These changes include the formation of a Pro Workflow Team that is run by John Ternus and works closely with the engineering team. Ternus said: “We said in the meeting last year that the pro community isn’t one thing. It’s very diverse. There are many different types of pros and obviously they go really deep into the hardware and software and are pushing everything to its limit. So one thing you have to do is we need to be engaging with the customers to really understand their needs. Because we want to provide complete pro solutions not just deliver big hardware which we’re doing and we did it with iMac Pro. But look at everything holistically.”
To ensure that they know just what the customers need, Apple has actually hired the creatives – some on a contract basis and some full time. “We’ve brought in some pretty incredible talent, really masters of their craft,” said Ternus.
Hopefully as a result the new display, like the new Mac Pro, will meet the very specific demands of this market.