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The upcoming Mac Pro is the first Mac to make possible ultra high-definition images and video, also known as Ultra HD or simply 4K. We’re talking native video at a minimum of 3,840-by-2,160 pixel resolution. That’s four times the pixels of your regular full HD 1,920-by-1,080 movies on Blu-ray discs and iTunes – and consequentially four times the clarity.

Just in time for the new generation of Ultra HDTVs – and possibly that rumored full-on Apple television set – the HDMI Licensing group has now taken the wraps off the updated HDMI standard, version 2.0…

According to a press release, HDMI 2.0 with its 18Gbps throughput is designed to support 4K video at sixty frames per second and up to 32 audio channels. It also has a dynamic auto lipsync feature and additional CEC extensions for better control of your other devices.

Another good thing about HDMI 2.0: the connectors have remained unchanged. And, your existing Category 2 cables are capable of handling the increased bandwidth.

HDMI cable (image 001)

A FAQ for HDMI 2.0 reveals additional capabilities, including up to 1536kHz audio sample frequency, simultaneous delivery of dual video streams to multiple users on the same screen, support for multi-stream audio to four users simultaneously and the wide angle theatrical 21:9 video aspect ratio.

The HDMI Licensing group will discuss the new features of the HDMI 2.0 specification at a press conference at IFA 2013 in Berlin on Friday, September 6 at 12pm local time.

Apple’s had a somewhat love-hate relationship with HDMI.

After spending years sitting on the sidelines and pushing the DisplayPort interconnect, Apple’s finally deployed HDMI across the Mac family to earn itself a spot on the HDMI Licensing group’s list of HDMI adopters.

As you know, the company is also betting on the ultra-fast Thunderbolt as the preferred I/O on Macs. As Thunderbolt is compatible with DisplayPort devices, outfitting Macs with HDMI was a no-brainer move, albeit way overdue.

The upcoming new Mac Pro will be the first Mac to feature Thunderbolt 2. The second-generation interface is identical in terms of cabling to the original Thunderbolt, making it backwards compatible with existing peripherals.

WWDC 2013 (Mac Pro, Thunderbolt 2)

At the logical level, Thunderbolt 2 combines the two previously separate 10 Gbit/s channels into a single logical 20 Gbit/s channel. It also comes with DisplayPort 1.2 support, enabling video streaming to a single 4K video monitor or dual QHD monitors.

WWDC 2013 (Mac Pro, New Generation Video)

According to Intel, Thunderbolt 2 is capable of transferring a 4K video while simultaneously displaying it on a discrete monitor.

WWDC 2013 (Mac Pro, you could be this guy)
This would be Jeff’s ultimate video editing setup, I imagine.

Once Thunderbolt 2 is deployed across the Mac lineup, I’m guessing Apple will release a Retina 4K Thunderbolt Display with Thunderbolt 2 built-in for daisy chaining.

Realistically, a Retina-enabled Thunderbolt Display should see the light of day as early as November, when the new Mac Pro with Thunderbolt 2 and crazy fast graphics is scheduled to ship.