Apple Is Working on a New External Display, but Not the Affordable One of Our Dreams

Apple Is Working on a New External Display, but Not the Affordable One of Our Dreams
Photo: Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Aside from Apple’s ridiculously expensive Pro Display XDR, the company doesn’t seem to be very interested in making external displays these days. But a new report indicates that’s about to change, with a new monitor powered by an A13 chip and a Neural Engine.

Anonymous sources told 9to5Mac that the display, reportedly known internally by the codename J327, won’t be the affordable alternative to the Pro Display XDR that many of us have hoped for. Instead, 9to5Mac suggests this new display will replace the Pro Display XDR. Womp, womp.

Back in 2016, Apple was rumoured to be working on a similar monitor with an integrated GPU after discontinuing its Thunderbolt Display. While 9to5Mac’s report makes no mention of an integrated GPU, it’s clear that this idea’s been kicking around for a while. Adding a built-in SoC to an external monitor, plus a Neural Engine, also hints that Apple might be looking at ways the display could interact with other devices.

This slots in neatly with other rumours and recent product launches as well. Earlier this year, Apple refreshed its iMac lineup for the first time in almost a decade. The company is also purportedly working on yet another iMac, with what leakers have described as a “really big screen,” based on the Pro Display XDR’s design. With the pandemic leading to a rise in remote work, adding another external display to its lineup would be a savvy move. Plus, it’s a notable omission in Apple’s product lineup. Sure, there’s the iMac, but those computers also come with all the pitfalls of an all-in-one desktop. There’s also the Mac mini, but unless you have several thousand dollars lying around for the Pro Display XDR, opting for a Mac mini means you have to rely on third-party monitors. For a company that loves products that “just work” and building out its ecosystem, it seems like a missed opportunity.

For those reasons, it’s a little disappointing to hear that this new display is likely to be yet another high-end display that mere mortals can’t afford. That said, Apple’s known to internally tinker with concepts — some of which never make it to consumers. It’s possible that if a new display does eventually show up, it could be vastly different from what 9to5Mac described. In any case, it appears Apple’s at least toying with the idea and, if so, may we suggest not pricing this one at $5000?