What's Next for Thunderbolt Displays?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by uptownnyc, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. uptownnyc macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2011
    Anyone have any guesses what might be coming next for Thunderbolt displays? I'm trying to conceive of what they could possibly do to improve these things. The only thing I can think of would be "retina-like" resolution ... but even that seems far-fetched considering how many pixels that would actually require.

    I know it's all speculation ... but does anyone have any informed guesses?
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    As Apple used the Aluminium ACDs (the silver ones) for five years without significant updates, the ATD will probably be left as it is for at least another year or two, until Retina display technology is cheap enough and resolution independence has been introduced to OS X.
  3. rainydays macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
    If they up the resolution then they definitely will have to add a built in GPU. That would be nice though.

    Whenever they make an update I sure hope that they add an audio output to the thing. I don't get why they didn't put one on the current display.
  4. mrTortex macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2011
    Adding a GPU seems logical, as does a resolution change. Of course they'll get thinner. Apple are pushing mobile more and more, so it makes sense that the displays will need to be fed from MacBook Air style devices, which don't have much GPU grunt. The modular system is how I expect it will go.

    Connect without having to physically connect is another possibility, ditch all but the power cable.

    Looking at my Cinema Display as I type this, they'd have to do something pretty special to improve it.
  5. rainydays macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
    You mean like, wireless thunderbolt? I doubt we'll see that even this decade.
  6. mac26 macrumors 6502

    Dec 27, 2011
    I think he meant Airplay TB display (useful when Mountain Lion comes out)
  7. Fynd macrumors 6502

    Aug 11, 2010
    USB3 instead of USB2 would be nice, and an audio out.
  8. Cmp1032 macrumors newbie

    Nov 9, 2011
    I hope nothing for awhile.. I just picked one up today!
  9. zen macrumors 68000


    Jun 26, 2003
    Yeah, that would be great. Having switched an iMac for a TBD + MBA, I'm a little disappointed that I still only have three USB ports, and I need to trail my headphone cable over to where the MBA is sitting.

    For a display this large, there should be plenty of room for more ports.
  10. Lennyvalentin macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2011
    Higher than current resolution on a 27" or thereabouts panel is incredibly expensive, and will be so for YEARS to come. Nobody in their right mind are going to pay 5k+ for a computer monitor except for those few who are so rich that money is of no concern to them.

    Adding GPUs to the TB display would also be a fairly poor move, as external GPUs that are significantly faster than those typically built into a notebook-class computer cost quite a bit of money. Remember, even the 2012 MBA will get a significant upgrade with Ivy Bridge graphics (40-60% or thereabouts.)

    Also, discrete graphics chips draw fairly hefty amounts of power (midrange devices suck down around 100 watts or more), thus neccessitating more cooling and a bigger power supply, increasing heat output and possibly noise, and adding further costs.

    The final nail in the coffin is lifespan. GPUs age quite rapidly, performance-wise. Performance of a graphics card more than 3 years old is usually bad, or very bad compared to anything current, even budget cards. Only the most expensive cards can still compare to even midrange offerings after a few years.

    Most expect to hang on to a monitor for a lot longer than that. And if anyone's thinking about upgradeability; HAH! This is Apple we're talking about, remember? You can't even upgrade the graphics in an iMac, and they would do it in a monitor? Just knock any such ideas out of your head, please. :)

    Not really any reason to make it thinner. It's a monitor; it just sits there on your desk... Making it thinner would just complicate the design of the innards. Remember, there's speakers and stuff in there as well, and that has to fit somehow.

    High-bandwidth wireless communications is unfeasible. There's some systems out there for video mainly, but they're glitchy, very short range and expensive.

    Nothing will come out for years that can match even current-gen thunderbolt, and it might well never happen. Wireless tech is inherently a lot less reliable than physical cables.

    No, I wouldn't expect anything revolutionary to the next generation of TB Displays. USB3 will likely be in there, considering it's being included in next-gen Macbooks (and I assume, iMacs.) Possibly they'll do a higher color gamut backlight or something simple like that, but I wouldn't count on it. The TBD is already an expensive piece of kit, so most anything else they can do would push the device into "super expensive" price range.
  11. zen macrumors 68000


    Jun 26, 2003
    Agree with the GPU thing - a large proportion of the market (including me) is using the TBD as an external monitor for a laptop (or Mac mini), with the intention of replacing the laptop at much more frequent intervals than the display, because the display's useful life span is huge compared to a computer.

    So if my 2011 MBA will see me three years before it's time to get a new one, then I'm hoping the TBD will be at least twice that.

    If not, then you might as well buy the 27" iMac and replace the whole unit every 3 years. Adding a GPU or anything like that to a display instantly reduces the life span.
  12. mrTortex macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2011
    No! :) I want a super thin screen, like the iPad, 27" (no smaller) at retina resolutions AND I want quad GPU's which are replaced by the App Store weekly. I want Thunderbolt v10 which is wireless and makes my house smell nice and has a transfer rate so fast that numbers don't go that high.

    Plus I think Apple should finally make the screen taste like an Apple, otherwise the name makes no sense.
  13. Joe HS macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2011
    United Kingdom
    16:10 @ 5120 x 3200
    Inbuilt GPU
    Two Thunderbolt ports (effectively one in/one out)
    Slight revision to TB - MacBooks retain MagSafe but can charge from TB cable.

    ≥1080p FaceTime
    Better speakers
    Dual Microphones
    Thinner, but unnoticeably so.

    2 x USB 3
    1 x FireWire 800
    Combined 3.5mm audio in/out
    Side-mounted SDXC.

    $1000. Late 2014/January 2015.

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