A real, honest-to-Jobs Apple display with built-in eGPU could be a smart move

“Many were disappointed by Apple’s apparent decision to abandon the display market in favor of recommending LG models. While LG’s 5K UltraFine is an excellent display in many ways, neither the design nor the build quality live up to Apple standards,” Ben Lovejoy writes for 9to5Mac.

“It may be shallow to care about the aesthetics of the monitor, but a display is something we stare at all day long,” Lovejoy writes. “Given that part of the reason we buy Apple kit is the beautiful designs, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect an officially-recommended display to live up to the same standard.”

“Apple could satisfy many people by simply putting the 5K UltraFine innards into an Ive-designed casing. But I think a new Apple display could also help the company solve a second – less shallow – problem,” Lovejoy writes. “Given that GPUs are increasingly as important as – and for some applications, arguably more important than – CPUs, it seems to me that Apple could at least partly mollify its pro users by offering them the option of an external display with a beefy graphics card built into it.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote early this month:

“Apple ceding the display business damages the Apple brand. Apple does not lead in an essential personal computing component and other companies logos are destined to be in Mac users’ faces all day long. Not smart. Cook & Co. should reconsider their decision and make and sell Apple-branded displays. Direct profits aren’t the issue, ancillary profits are; smart executives like Cook should be able to recognize the power of perception.”


  1. I have both of these LG displays for my MacBook Pro 15″, late 2016. One 27″ for my office, one 21,5″ for my home office in the countryside. So I know about the issue.

    Great specs, no question. Terrible packaging. Terrible design. Terrible color of the bezel. It looks like Dell to mention the worst. If I pay 5000 Euros for the notebook like I did (2 TB of SSD, Apple care, German prices) I want to have a great display.

    I simply do not understand, why Apple did not take just the display and puts it in the newer iMac case like they did in the past with the Thunderbolt Display and the bigger iMac case. Is that too much asked, Tim?

    Now I have to look at a real ugly design for at least 5 years to come. I was always defending Tim Cook against my friends, but I have given up. I cannot understand why he had allowed such an ugly designed display.

  2. I want a display that can charge the laptop and have the missing ports, so no separate dock is needed. I want it to have an Apple-compatible microphone and camera (with physical shutter?). And, yes, I want it to say Apple, not LG or Dell or Samsung.

    I suppose I could settle for a third party monitor that does most of those things, but seriously, Apple, don’t you have enough resources to design your own? Are you going to let pressure to keep up your margins make you less consumer-friendly?

    1. I just ordered a BizonBox 3 for my new MacBook Pro. Its not the Pro Mac I want (which would have room for 3-4 of the best nVidia Tesla cards) but it seems to be the best that can be had.

      Bizon says they have tested up to three BizonBoxes on one Mac, so I might get a couple more down the road.

      I use them for engineering computing, not graphics, but looking forward to better gaming anyway.

  3. A certain irony in making us pay for the design and build quality of their computers while expecting us to tolerate anything but on the I’m most visible in using those computers. Apple is definitely getting a little schizophrenic under Cook or maybe it’s just an overal sense of confusion from them to us.

  4. You’d think this was a no brainer. Yet people who pay themselves millions upon millions cannot figure it out.

    Alternatively, they have figured it out. It just happens to be way above our heads. Hmmmm. I am not convinced somehow.

  5. here is the passage that reminded me of something

    “Apple is, today, a consumer electronics company which also makes a few business products. It’s entirely understandable that it would focus most of its attention first on consumers rather than professionals, and second on the iPhone rather than Macs.”

    so what did it remind me of? the fact that steve jobs always had the the enterprise in mind – hence the decision to go with unix based system X and abandon proprietary chips and go with “intel inside”

    if i recall correctly he is on the record indicating he would win over enterprise by infiltrating by individuals using macs and look what started to happen?

    it is why i bought in to apple stock back then, even i could see thee handwriting on that wall.

    so why is apple refocused so heavily on consumer electronics when they previously focused on both – one a bit more obviously than the other, but both just the same – and enterprise and pros need powerful up to date desktop macs. don’t go leaving that money on the table.

  6. It seems like a great idea to allow a display to have it’s own GPU. A user won’t have the ability to use SLI but still, for Apple users, this could be a godsend. Apple’s “greening” of ALL their desktop computers is really going too far. Whatever energy Apple is saving for the world, the Windows PC computers are eating up all that saved energy and more. All the Windows PCs are capable of being completely stuffed with the most power-hungry components available in their quest for running all those high-end games in 4K at 60 fps.

    There doesn’t seem to be any forced energy mandate for how much power a desktop computer can draw, so why does Apple have to be the only company to go overboard on saving energy on all of its products? It’s as though Apple is trying to save money by not installing beefy power supplies in its products. Of course, building skinny desktops precludes the choice of any after-market power supplies. Everything Apple does with its desktops eliminates users of any choices except what Apple provides and even Apple barely offers any additional choices for pro-sumer users. It’s not as though Apple is being praised by anyone for having energy-efficient products. They’re not getting any tax breaks like Tesla for saving energy, either. I just want them to offer at least ONE high-end product that can do some heavy lifting and use standard third-party components. Apple is taking a path all by its lonesome.

    I think if I have a chance of buying a display that can accomodate a high end Radeon or NVIDIA GPU, I would probably buy it if I can still continue to use OSX. I’d go to Windows if I have to but I’d prefer to continue to support Apple. I’m just asking for Apple to make at least a few concessions but it’s unlikely Apple cares anything about users wishing to have more powerful GPUs. How the heck is Apple going to support AR/VR with their weak mobile GPU lineup? Apple won’t be able to compete with companies who don’t have any interest in building “green” products.

  7. I’m not sure I understand the attraction of having a GPU bundled with a display.

    If a display offers just the ability to show the video signal you feed it, then it can be used with any computer. Multiple inputs so that you can use it with DisplayPort, DVI, or HDMI is also a nice touch that separates good from bad displays. People will pay a premium for better materials, ergonomics, and such, and they can indeed see the difference between junk and quality. That’s the minimum starting point for an Apple branded display.

    If you take that basic display and add some minimal upgrades like video camera and USB and Thunderbolt hubs, then you have what used to be the last generation of Apple Display. A pretty good, albeit not very versatile, docking station for MacBooks of all types. Not very well designed for desktop owners unfortunately, especially as a second display for iMac owners.

    But if you go one step further and add an internal GPU, then who is going to buy it? Tablet owners?

    Desktop and top end laptop PCs already offer the option of kickass GPUs built in, no need for the added expense of a GPU in the display. Macs, though significantly behind, can also pump out 4K content albeit at lower frame rates. But even for pros, who is going to want to buy a Mac Pro desktop with no GPUs in it? Nobody is going to duplicate GPUs. The beauty of having the display separate from the CPU is that you can upgrade as needed rather than throwing out the whole iMac when one subcomponent fails or is obsolete, but there is no performance gain in moving the GPU from one box to the next, and forcing dual component purchase at one time is anti-user behavior.

    Okay, so for the sake of argument let’s say that an iMac user decides he wants to replace his all-in-one with a MBP and a dedicated display. Well, why would he want a GPU-enhanced display? If he chose to have the kickass display and GPU on his desk and save money having only a bare bones GPU in the MacBook, then that means wherever he travels, any conventional display or projector he attaches to would be low quality. Anyone with a conventional computer — including the latest MBPs — would have to be tested for compatibility with the fancy GPU-enhanced display.

    I just don’t see any advantage for moving the GPU to the display.

    That of course doesn’t mean there aren’t huge enhancements that Apple should be making to its display business ASAP. Apple killed the selling appeal of the Thunderbolt Display because they mismanaged the business, offering too little value and adaptability for too high a price. In the end, the TB Display didn’t match the needs of users and was left to rot on the vine, not even matching the latest connectivity or the aesthetic of Apple’s own iMac displays. Let’s not make the same mistake again.

    Instead of bundling a GPU into a display, which is functionally already possible with a Thunderbolt breakout box, I would like to see Apple create a proper lineup of displays. Make them from aluminum or high end composite. Make the bezels disappear. Make them height adjustable. Make the cable a meter longer than the last models. Make it easy and ergonomic to plug in USB and Thunderbolt accessories into the base while sitting in front of the display. Make the HD video cam secure so no tape is required. Make the speakers optimized for near-field resolution rather than room-filling sound, and include connectivity for audio output to proper audio systems using legacy Toslink or SPDIF connections. Make them in 16×10 ratio, non-reflective, with 4K display resolution minimum in 24″, 27″, and 32″ sizes. Make them work great with any computer, Mac or PC or iPad or iPhone WITH NO ADDITIONAL ADAPTER PURCHASE REQUIRED. Make them look worthy of the Apple name.

    Then Apple would have a top selling premium display on its hands.

    Is that too hard for you, Timmy? If so, then it’s time for you to leave to concentrate on those important things you always wanted to do with your life. It is an embarrassment that Apple is relying on LG to make cheap gray plastic displays while attempting to sell Hermes watch bands in your Apple stores. The inconsistency is jarring.

    1. Many of your arguments are so true and I can understand as a Pro user depending on powerful GPUs the best choice for a GPU is inside the computer chassis and not inside the display. Also a user upgradable chassis with the possibility to add at least 2 powerful GPUs. That is for the Pro user or for avid gamers.

      However, most of the market is constituted by consumer and prosumers with Mac Books and MBP so it makes sense to provide those users with a clean option to have a powerful GPU, a display and docking station functionality on one product. Although it will be expensive. It will also allow those users with older Macs, those with integrated graphics or underpowered GPUs and Mac minis to have powerful graphic options with a fully supported product created by Apple.

      But one problem with Apple today is they seem to have such a narrow thinking only one chassis should address all user needs. And they are going after the most common user to warranty the highest profits. So their trend is low power, light and thin. Users demanding top performance have always being around 5% – 10% so they are mostly left out.

      This One product chassis for all mentality from Apple gets so complicated if you also think on low power, light and thin no real product can be perfect or ideal. It will always makes sense to produce 2, 3 or more products. That is what other computer and none computer business does but to Apple’s standard it lowers the profits.

      Not doing anything Apple itself will force its users to implement less desirable 3er party options with less efficient hardware options and combinations with risky support on critical applications. So demanding users may even prefer to use a certified Windows machine for critical applications than a good but experimental Mac product.

      In the end products like BizonBox may grow fast, hopefully, and solve most of the possible user scenarios and we are going to at least have the option to keep using our Macs but also have a chance to include the powerful graphics some of us need.

  8. if you took the time to look at how fast the tv space is evolving it becomes obvious why Apple decided not to play in it anymore at lease until it reaches its conclusion.

    We will soon have screens that a wafer thin flexible and 8 k any screen you buy now will be obsolete in 6 months and Apple would be updating them all the time to keep up which is a waste of resources with no real advantage so they stepped out of this market.

    1. With a wait and see mentality Apple may loose all its edge and an important connection with their users. Most other important players are producing a great set of options and screen formats. Other players are not standing still. But Apple is being perceived so rigid the intuition goes they can’t maneuver fast enough.

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