Apple preps external 5K display for WWDC reveal, may feature dedicated GPU

“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.,” Benjamin Mayo reports for 9to5Mac. “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.”

“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,” Mayo reports. “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.”

“Upon connection to the new Apple Display, the Mac will intelligently decide whether to use its own internal graphics power or rely on the external GPU included with the Thunderbolt display; the more powerful GPU will be used while the less powerful GPU will be inactive. From what we understand, the GPU will not be able to work in concert with the internal GPU at all — it’s one or the other,” Mayo reports. “The details on how the new Apple Display connects to a Mac is not clear, but it will almost certainly require the purchase of a new Mac to use the display at full 5K resolution.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A display with an integrated GPU makes sense as this display will also work with thin and light MacBooks of all stripes!


  1. I have waited for this for far too long! The concept reads well thought through. Better late than never.

    The current Thunderbolt display is so ridiculous – at least design-wise. If you look from the side it is about an inch thick while the iMac is only a few millimeters although it houses not only a far superior display but also a whole mac on top. Sheesh…

    1. Bearing in mind that the 27″ 5K iMac is cheaper than some 5K monitors, it’s highly likely that an Apple 5K display would cost more than a 5K iMac too.

      The cost on an iMac is reduced because of the benefits of manufacturing on a large scale. Stand-alone monitors are not sold in such vast numbers, so the economy of scale is not there.

  2. “almost certainly require the purchase of a new Mac to use the display at full 5K resolution”

    Is this true? Isn’t the whole point of the internal GPU to perform beyond the capability of the connected Mac? Beyond to a limited degree, maybe, but recent MaBook Pro’s that can already do 4K?

  3. Yeah, but if they do that, then it still removes any possibility of being able to plug a VR headset into the computer. I guess it’s great for people who want to use Facebook in 5K.

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