Where are the Apple displays for the masses?

As the Mac lineup moves through the Apple Silicon transition, the speedy new Macs spotlight a glaring hole in Apple’s product lineup: the lack of an external display priced for the masses.

With Retina 6K resolution, gorgeous color and extreme brightness and contrast ratio, Pro Display XDR is the world’s best pro display.
Apple’s $4,999 Retina 6K Pro Display XDR with its $999 Pro Stand

Chance Miller for 9to5Mac:

I recently made a change to my Mac setup, dropping my 27-inch Intel-powered iMac in favor of the M1 Mac mini. There were a few reasons behind this change, including the pure speed of the M1 chip. I also wanted to ditch the Intel iMac sooner rather than later, as resell values are sure to drop quickly once the new Apple Silicon models are announced sometime this year.

The M1 Mac mini has been an absolute joy to use in nearly every regard. I just wish I had an Apple-made display to pair it with — for under $4,999. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered buying a Pro Display XDR, but it’s impossible to justify in my situation. It’s overkill for my needs, despite how badly I want one.

It’s bizarre to me that Apple sells such a good desktop computer, the M1 Mac mini, without a reasonable display solution for buyers.

The M1 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air also underscore the need for an Apple-made external display. These machines are so powerful that they outperform some of the high-end Intel-powered Macs. This means that they can replace a desktop computer for many buyers, but this argument is harder to make when Apple doesn’t sell a mass-market external display.

MacDailyNews Take: “Oh, just buy an XDR and be done with it. And, don’t be cheap: get the nano-texture glass and throw on a Pro Stand, too.”

Sorry, we were channeling Tim Cook… Uh, wait a sec: “…and justice for all,” or some such shit, Tim added there at the end. You get the gist. 😉

Anyway, we’ve already been through this Apple monitor bit years ago:

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.MacDailyNews, March 2017

Ah, but hope springs eternal. Maybe this year is the year!

FYI: We currently drive dual 27-inch 4K displays (LG 27UK850-W units, $405.67 at Amazon currently) when at our desks with 16-inch MacBook Pro units (AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 8GB). We’d switch to Apple displays in a heartbeat, if only Apple would offer them.

(Yes, the LG logos are covered with black tape.)

19 Comments

  1. A subject that has been brought up for quite a few years now…
    Even if displays are not a profitable item.. its a huge Marketing mistake to leave them out.
    Visibility!…..Remember the conference halls, classes, Keynotes..etc.. all one sees are the MacBook display logos all over the place. Yet in the desktop workstation arenas … Nada .. u see LG’s on hidden Macs. Not good Marketing wise.. not good design cohesion wise.

  2. I’ve been looking for a decent high ppi monitor for my new mini m1 but there’s few options. Was hoping for some news on an Apple monitor I can justify the cost of with over 200ppi, otherwise I guess it’s the LG ultrafine 5k I suppose.

    1. I’ve been thinking about a mini instead of a new iMac, and learned that you can buy 3-4 4K displays for the price of just one 5K display. I have a 2015 5K iMac, and can’t go back down to 4K. When you factor in the cost of a monitor (and keyboard and mouse), the mini is not so cheap as it appears at first glance. I’d be happy with a 27-inch or larger Apple monitor OR a 27-inch iMac. I’ll take whichever comes first.

  3. Obviously, at the mid to lower end of Mac lineup, Apple prefers customers buying MacBook or iMac. The current lowest-cost iMac is about $1100 (MacBook Air about $1000). Mac mini starts at about $700, for customers unwilling to buy iMac. But Mac mini with any conceivable “Apple display for the masses” (plus keyboard/mouse/trackpad) would exceed cost of low-end iMac config. Apple will not make a cheap plastic low-quality display.

    The current transition situation is weird and temporary. Right now, M1 Mac mini out-performs most Intel iMacs. If author waited a few months, M1 (or maybe M2) iMac would be available and he’d get one. His previous Mac was an iMac. And he probably would not have written this article.

    1. Respectfully disagree.
      There are Mac mini users out there.. and Mac pro Users and soon to come mac pro mini users.
      All these users are left without a reasonably priced Apple Display….Add on top all those including iMac users who would like multi display systems.

      1. I agree on the need for a reasonably-priced Apple display. But from Apple’s point of view, that display would be aimed primarily at Mac mini users. Many laptop users (most?) don’t need an external display, and not too many high-end Pro users would buy such a display. I don’t know if the Mac mini market is big enough to support an Apple display market.

    2. I also disagree with the Apple Apologist excusing the company from providing low cost displays for the Mini that does not have to be made of “plastic junk.”

      We are talking about Apple that can do anything, after all. Get a grip…

      1. The main point is that any conceivable lower-cost display from Apple would NOT be a cheap display. It would likely cost more than a new Mac mini. And a Mac mini plus such a display would exceed the “starting at” cost of an iMac. Therefore, it makes no sense for Apple to offer such a display. Mac mini users on a budget can use a third-party display.

        And as a secondary point, Apple is more successful because its leaders know when to say NO, not YES. Apple “can do anything,” but Apple chooses to be disciplined in what it does and does not.

        1. Could not disagree more. Apple always offered a quality display pairing with every computer they sold for DECADES. What changed? Clueless bean counter Tim Cook. What part do you not understand?…

          1. Always? The first Macs were all-in-one designs. During the bad-old-days between Jobs’s departure and return, Apple wanted to be like HP and Dell and moved toward computer boxes with separate displays. Of course they’d want to offer displays with that me-too “PC” strategy.

            “What changed” is today, most Macs (iMacs and MacBooks) are all-in-one designs once again. Apple wants to sell mostly iMacs and MacBooks, so an Apple-branded display is not essential. Separate displays for Macs are mostly needed at the high end and low end.

            For the high end, enough customers will pay a premium price for an Apple-designed display. For everyone else, most current Mac customers don’t even need a separate display because they use an iMac or MacBook. And Mac mini customers mostly want a display that costs under $300. There are plenty of good choices; it’s not worthwhile for Apple. Apple stopped making printers, wireless routers, and other product types for same reason. Others can make and sell them, and Apple’s version (at the required price point) wouldn’t be significantly better.

          2. Apple began selling computers in 1976. It did not offer an Apple-manufactured display until the Monitor III for the Apple III in 1980. The first monitor that Apple made specifically for the Apple II came three years later. The first composite color CRT was not until 1985. Almost all of us used third-party monitors until then. The first 640×400 RGB monitor for the Macintosh II came out in 1987. The last monochrome Apple monitor came out in 1990, and the last CRT in 2000.

            Apple has never been known for affordable displays, and never sold high volumes. The penultimate new Apple display was the Thunderbolt Display in 2011. Apple discontinued the production of standalone displays entirely in 2016, until the $4999 Pro Display XDR became available in December 2019. That does not set a price record, incidentally. The first 22-inch Apple Cinema Display in 1999 was a $3999 ($6314 when adjusted for inflation) option for the Power MacG4.

  4. Apple is bankrolling a mini LCD factory in Taiwan. Expect these displays to show up first in iPad Pros, then in iPhones, then MacBook Pros and iMacs, then standalone monitors. Depending on when the Mac Pro Mini debuts, the last one might jump the line a bit. I expect the monitors will mirror the iMacs both in spec and in appearance. Price? Who knows…

  5. For years I have matched various MacBook Pro laptops with assorted external monitors.
    Used to to be Apple displays, these days LG.
    At the very least, Apple has lost those monitor sales to LG.

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