Intel announces 2014 Thunderbolt update with 4K support; opens door for Retina iMacs?

Retina iMac mockup via MacSpoilers

Retina iMac mockup via MacSpoilers

Today, Intel announced a new version of its Thunderbolt technology that will ship with devices in 2014. The new Thunderbolt technology supports up to 20Gbps throughput, which is up from the 10 Gbps supported by the current version of Thunderbolt.

Notably, the new technology supports 4K resolutions, which could open the door for even higher-resolution Mac displays. Perhaps, this is the technology that Apple needs to work with in order to begin a Retina display rollout for its all-in-one desktop computer, the iMac, or even Mac Pro compatible Thunderbolt displays.

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Report: Hon Hai source says 46 to 55-inch Apple TV set in testing, no panel supplier confirmed, 2013 launch unlikely

apple-tv-tree

Last week, a report from The Wall Street Journal claimed Apple’s much rumored HDTV set is now in the “early stages of testing” with partners Hon Hai Precision and Sharp. Today, we get more details surrounding the rumored product from the Taiwan national news agency’s English language Focus Taiwan. According to the report, citing sources close to Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the supplier is testing Apple television designs, but the possibility of the product shipping in 2013 is “unlikely”:

Nevertheless, the source said it is unlikely that shipments of the appliances will begin as soon as the end of next year.

While the report from WSJ claimed Sharp was involved in the initial testing of the product with Hon Hai, Focus Taiwan’s source claimed the possibility of Sharp displaying panels for the product is “not high”:

Asked whether the new Apple TV will use display panels produced by Japan’s Sharp Corp., the source said the possibility is not high.

The source also claimed that Apple is looking at displays ranging from 46 inches to 55 inches, meaning the company likely wouldn’t rely on Sharp’s plants best suited for production of 60+ inch panels: Read more

Sharp’s new 4K IGZO 32-inch display has Apple written all over it

Sharp is announcing a 32-inch 4K monitor today that uses its LGZO LCD tech expected to hit the Japanese market in February 2013. The roughly $5,500 PN-K321 monitor sports a 3,840-by-2,160 resolution and HDMI and DisplayPort inputs. According to Sharp, it will also be the thinnest monitor frame on the market at just 35mm. Even if analysts were wrong about a full-fledged TV set from Apple next year, these new Sharp displays would certainly make a pretty Thunderbolt display.

Sharp will put its IGZO displays in the hands of consumers in the near future, as it recently announced its first 7-inch tablet to take advantage of the technology’s low-power consumption features. Apple decided to not go with Sharps’ IGZO displays for its latest round of iPad launches. It instead sourced display components from AU Optronics, LG Display, and Samsung, but several reports in the past indicated Apple is interested in the technology. Apple was even recently rumored to be potentially making an investment in the failing company—much like Apple partner Foxconn previously agreed to.

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Sharp announces first IGZO 7-inch tablet, claims battery life increased over 2X with new tech rumored for Apple’s mini iPad

We heard reports in the past that Apple passed on Sharp’s IGZO display tech for the third-generation iPad due to Sharp not having the tech ready in time. Going with Sharp’s IGZO tech would have allowed for a thinner display assembly, a brighter display with less LEDs, and the ability to use a smaller battery or extend battery life specs as a result. It could have also helped shave off some of the increased weight and depth of the new iPad. These are all things we witnessed first hand when we got up close and personal with a few IGZO demos at IFA this year.  Sharp is announcing today its first 7-inch tablet to use the display technology, claiming the 1,280-by-800 IGZO display allows for 2.5 times the battery life from the tablet’s 2,040mAh battery (via ComputerWorld).

With the iPad mini launch coming later this month, it is a possibility the tech is finally ready for Apple to take advantage. Sharp also has 10-inch and 13-inch variants of the IGZO displays, but the 7-inch would of course make a lot of sense for iPad mini given what we already know about the device. Apple’s ability to increase battery life, or simply have the ability to use a smaller battery (in a smaller form factor) while maintaining battery life specs, is just one benefit. Another big benefit for Apple would be narrow borders: rumor has it—which is something we also talked about a lot in the past—the iPad mini will have a much narrower border than previous-generation iPads. Sharp told us its IGZO LCDs can be built with a bezel under 2mm, and it was showing off a demo display with a 1.75mm border at IFA. That would definitely fit the bill for the narrow-border, one-handed experience we expect from iPad mini. Read more

Sharp’s IGZO on display at IFA Berlin: better touch sensitivity, smaller bezels [Gallery/Video]

We had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with Sharp today at its IGZO display booth. While they would not say which Apple products would incorporate their new displays, they did seem to insinuate these were the best displays on the market, and Apple is the type of company that uses the best displays.

So why are these the best?

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Chinese rumor roundup: Retina iMac coming in October, 7.85-inch iPad to use Sharp IGZO panel

A few reports have floated around today that we are filing under rumor. The first comes from a Digitimes report that claimed Apple suppliers are prepping for mass production of a new Retina iMac scheduled for July with a possible October unveiling. We told you in May that Retina iMacs were likely on the way when higher-resolution iMac display panels were spotted in Apple’s supply chain before the unveiling of the new Retina MacBook Pro at WWDC in June. Apple quietly updated the Mac Pro lineup after the event, and then it confirmed a redesigned Mac Pro was in the works for 2013, but we have heard nothing official from Apple on future iMacs.

We heard a lot about a possible 7-inch or 7.85-inch iPad, and today there are more roughly translated reports, coming from Chinese publication MyDrivers.com (via UnwiredView), that claim Apple has a 7.85-inch iPad using a Sharp IGZO panel. There have been several reports in recent months claiming Apple is working on the device, and the The Wall Street Journal reported in February that Apple was testing displays roughly 8-inches in size. Apple looks to be at least testing these screen sizes, but we have no solid proof that anything is planned as of yet. Previous reports indicated a possible October launch for a 7-inch iPad under $250. Read more