Apple Eyes 4K Desktop Displays With Next Generation Thunderbolt
April 9, 2013 4:48 PM
comment(s) - last by
4K could hit iMacs, Cinema Displays as early as 2014; could trickle down to MacBook Pros in 2015
With Google Inc.'s (
new "Pixel" Chromebooks
beating Apple, Inc.'s (
) premium laptops in the pixels-per-inch (ppi) arms race, Apple is reportedly pondering releasing 4K Thunderbolt 2 displays for sometime in 2014. 4K (typically referring to 3840x2160 pixel displays) was a
hot item at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show
. While many argue it's an exercise in impracticality, others salivate at the super-sharp televisions, which are starting to
trickle out onto the market
I. Apple Creeps Towards 4K With New Intel Thunderbolt Release
Intel Corp. (
) recently showed off a demo called "Thunderbolt Technology Update", which is basically a second-generation
. The next generation Thunderbolt is capable of piping "4K video file transfer and display simultaneously."
Marco Armanet, co-founder of Tumblr and founder of Instapaper, writes in
This could enable the first generation of desktop Retina displays: it wouldn’t surprise me if the first standalone Retina display was a 23” panel with exactly 4K resolution (3840?×?2160), run logically as 1920?×?1080 (1080p) at 2X, and driven by upgraded Thunderbolt ports in the next generation of MacBook Pros and Mac Pros.
Mr. Armanet is an avid iOS developer and Apple analyst.
Apple has also long been
rumored to be developing a "smart" LCD TV
. If such a product is released in the next couple years, a 4K panel is a likely inclusion.
II. Could 4K MacBook Pros Also be on the Horizon?
If Apple's 4K monitors follow a similar release trajectory to its 2.5K monitors, it could see the tech trickle-down to a premium variant of its MacBook Pro laptops sometime around 2015. The current ~2.5K MacBook Pro Retina units are rough 220 ppi; a 4K unit would be around 350 ppi.
The prospect of a 350 ppi MacBook Pro would be impressive, but not out of the ballpark. Currently, the
Galaxy S IV
by Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
) packs a 440 ppi, 1080p, 5-inch display. Scaling up super-dense displays is difficult, but Apple and Google have shown that it can be done.
Apple currently offers "Retina Display" MacBook Pro laptops, priced at around $200-400 USD above the standard models. In addition to being thinner/lighter, the Retina models pack the titular monitor, which is
2880xx1800 pixels in the 15-inch model
2560x1600 pixels in the 13-inch model
The company also retails a $999 USD Thunderbolt Display for use with its laptops and desktops. That display packs a "2560-by-1440 LED-backlit display, a FaceTime HD camera, high-quality audio, three USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire 800 port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a Thunderbolt port for daisy-chaining
additional high-performance devices
The monitor is basically the
same as the 27-inch iMac
, sans the motherboard and processor chips.
Apple has drawn flack over its
$50 USD sticker for Thunderbolt cables
, however some loyal fans say the performance of the high-speed technology is worth the cost.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
4/10/2013 12:16:53 PM
There's nothing that could change that would make me buy a Mac. I might go to tonymacx86's site and buy the approved parts and put Mac OS X
my newly-built PC, but unless Microsoft makes Windows 8.1 even worse than Windows 8, from a usability standpoint, I can't see myself ever switching to Apple anything.
4/10/2013 9:57:14 PM
Buy a Mac, then run Windows in a virtual machine.
You can put up all of those supposed superstitions as an excuse why you wouldn't buy Macs, or you can recognize that a Mac is like a PC sold by a gaming boutique and the only difference is the software layer. Actually, the price premium on a Mac is far below that of the Clevo / MSI whitebooks branded by gaming boutiques.
5/5/2013 10:29:57 AM
Since the first PCs came out, I built my own, at least one a year, from the latest and greatest parts. I laughed at anyone who owned a Mac. Then in 2010 I got a job and was forced to use Macs. I'm a software engineer, and wow, I saw the light. Mac is Unix underneath. As a developer I prefer Unix to Windows by a HUGE margin. Technically it is a much better OS.
Since then I have not built a new PC, and my existing PC has been gathering dust.
Its not just the Unix thing, the user interface of the Mac is far superior to Windows in nearly every way. In small but important ways. For example, the right mouse button and the scroll wheel follow the mouse, while the left mouse button follows the focus. All the menus are ALWAYS in the same place, at the top of the screen, regardless of the application.
In addition, there are features such as the versioning filesystem, used with Time Machine (built into the OS) that let you see what your hard drive looked like in the past and retrieve old versions of files, even if they have been deleted. I can keep writing about the virtues of OS X, but then this is not the venue. Just take it from an ex avid PC/Windows user who used to build his own rig for over a decade, try a Mac and don't just get frustrated because it is not like a Windows PC. Its that way for a reason.
5/5/2013 10:35:52 AM
Wanted to also mention, building a Mac from parts will cost you more than buying one from Apple. I know because I tried. In the end the parts list came out to something around $800, meanwhile you can get a Mac mini with same specs for $600.
Also, you can dual boot a Mac into Windows/OS X, installing Windows on a Mac is fully supported by Apple.
You can also run WIndows programs, even the latest games, on VMs such as Parallels. They run at around 80% of native speed, which is quite impressive. If you need the extra 20% you can dual boot into Windows.
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