Nilay Patel, Editor-in-chief of The Verge, has confirmed with Apple that the company has officially exited the standalone display business, dashing any hope that we might see a standalone Apple-branded 5K Thunderbolt Display. If you own a Thunderbolt Display, don’t hope for a Retina-enabled upgrade.
For now, customers who want to use their MacBook Pro with an external display can purchase one of the readily available 4K displays on Amazon. Apple is also promoting LG-made 4K and 5K standalone screens which can be connected to one of the new notebook’s Thunderbolt 3 ports (two on the 13-inchers, four on the 15-inch Pros).
LG’s 21.5-inch 4K UltraFine display is priced at $699.95 and its 5K 27-inch brethren is a $1,299.95 value. The 5K display will ship in December while the 4K UltraFine currently has a wait time of 5-6 weeks.
Both standalone displays can be pre-ordered via Apple.com.
Apple’s marketing boss Phil Schiller called these upcoming displays the ultimate docking stations because they have a plethora of ports on the back, including one Thunderbolt 3 port and three USB-C ports (USB 3.1 Gen 1, maxing out at 5Gbps).
LG designed these new screens in partnership with Apple so they support features like P3 wide color gamut and have built-in stereo speakers, camera and microphone.
Apple.com’s blurb for LG’s new displays:
A single Thunderbolt 3 cable included provides up to 85W of charging power to your MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports. And three downstream USB-C ports (5 Gbps) offer additional connectivity and power to compatible devices and accessories.
On the downside, the LG displays lack an Ethernet port which Apple’s discontinued Thunderbolt Display used to provide, as well as one FireWire 800 port.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro with its Intel Iris integrated graphics has plenty of bandwidth to simultaneously drive its built-in display and either one external 5K display or a pair of external 4K displays at 60 Hz each.
The 15-inch Pro is even more powerful in that regard, capable of simultaneously driving its built-in display in addition to either two 5K displays with 5120-by-2880 resolution or up to a whopping four external displays at 4,096-by-2,304 pixels each.
In fact, the new MacBook Pro is the world’s first notebook to simultaneously support up to four 4K monitors out of the box. The only thing that could make real pros think twice before getting a Pro is the fact that the machine does not offer more than 16GB RAM.
According to Apple, doubling the RAM would have a negative impact on the MacBook Pro’s all-day battery life, which is rated at ten hours of wireless web use or iTunes movie playback on the 15-inch model, an hour more than the previous generation.
Top photo: previous-generation MacBook pro connected to two Thunderbolt Displays.
Source: Nilay Patel