Apple's Thunderbolt Display Overview Updated February 9, 2017

Apple's Thunderbolt Display

A monitor that did everything

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33 'Thunderbolt Display' stories

September 2011 - February 2017

As the sequel to Apple’s LED Cinema Display, the Apple Thunderbolt Display (Orig. $999, now on Ebay for much less) was originally introduced in July 2011, and had not changed until it was discontinued in June 2016. Measuring 27″ on the diagonal, the metal and glass Thunderbolt Display uses the same 2560×1440 screen found in the original 27″ iMac and the LED Cinema Display, with a chassis thickness somewhere between the last two iMac generations. Three speakers are inside the frame for 2.1-channel audio, along with a basic FaceTime HD camera and a microphone.

The display is different because it has a Thunderbolt connector, which makes a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, or Mac Pro easy to hook up. After plugging the monitor into a wall outlet, you connect your Mac via the Thunderbolt cable to gain access to three powered USB 2.0 ports, a Firewire 800 port, a Thunderbolt port, and an Ethernet port. There’s also a MagSafe plug to supply up to 85W of power to a MacBook, as well as a packed-in MagSafe 2 adapter for newer MacBooks. Thunderbolt is required for the video connection; no other video standard is supported.

The Thunderbolt Display has not been updated for roughly four years, and shows its age in physical thickness, non-Retina display resolution, the age of its ports, and pricing. It’s very hard to recommend right now, and we’d expect Apple to release a new version in the not-too-distant future.

Need extra cash to upgrade? Sell your Thunderbolt Display to Gazelle.

Thunderbolt Display Stories February 9, 2017


Earlier today, Apple silently pushed shipping times for the LG UltraFine 5K display back to 5 to 6 weeks. The move came following our report last week highlighting problems using the display with 2 feet of wireless routers due to poor shielding.

With the LG woes in mind, is now the perfect time for Apple to re-enter the display market?

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Thunderbolt Display Stories July 4, 2016


If you’ve been holding out for a new standalone desktop display from Apple, you’re either going to take news of the Thunderbolt Display being discontinued as a sign of good things to come, or as a cue to finally purchase a new 4K or 5K display from someone else. For most, especially considering Apple itself is recommending you purchase a third-party display, the latter option is going to be the more likely.

While Apple didn’t recommend any specific third-party alternatives during its discontinuation announcement of the Thunderbolt display last week, we’ve done the work for you and put together our top picks for the best 4K & 5K displays for Mac available to buy right now.

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Thunderbolt Display Stories June 24, 2016

Thunderbolt Display

Apple officially announced yesterday that its Thunderbolt Display is dead. The monitor was never updated to match the much thinner design of the current iMacs, it featured a MagSafe 1 connector and required a MagSafe 2 adapter, and its resolution was far inferior to Retina iMacs so it was no surprise to see it finally discontinued.

Apple typically replaces a discontinued product with a newer version, though, so yesterday’s move could be interpreted as a sign that the company is fully exiting the external display business. Not so fast, says one voice however…

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Thunderbolt Display Stories June 23, 2016


Earlier this year, we reported that Apple was planning a new Thunderbolt Display with a built-in GPU to replace the outdated current-gen Thunderbolt display. Now, according to TechCrunch, Apple has announced that it is officially discontinuing the Thunderbolt Display.

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Thunderbolt Display Stories June 1, 2016


Update: No new Apple display at WWDC … timing unclear but integrated GPU next-gen Apple Display is still in development.

The current $999 (!) Thunderbolt Display is showing its age to put it mildly, now significantly overshadowed by Retina MacBooks and iMacs in terms of screen resolution and quality. Reaffirming earlier reports, we have heard that stock of the Thunderbolt Display at Apple Stores is quickly running out with no indications of more units on the way to replenish availability. This is often a good indicator that a refresh is imminent. We are led to believe that WWDC will be very light on new hardware. However, given the opportunity for cheers in the audience, perhaps Apple could announce the new display at the keynote with a release pencilled in for later in the year.

Independently, we have heard some rumblings about what the new display might offer. Finally bringing it up to speed with its Retina display Mac cousins, the new ‘Thunderbolt Display’ will likely feature a 5K resolution display 5120×2880 pixels. Moreover, sources indicate that Apple will take the display in a surprising direction, specifically suggesting that Apple plans to integrate a dedicated external GPU into the display itself

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Thunderbolt Display Stories May 31, 2016

Thunderbolt Display

It’s been true for way too long now that Apple’s Thunderbolt Display is due for a comprehensive upgrade. Apple’s $999 27-inch display has a dated design and has much lower resolution than the Retina 5K iMac for $800 more. For those reasons and more, it’s been on everyone’s Do Not Buy list for quite some time, but that may be about to change.

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