Apple yesterday announced plans to discontinue the 5-year-old Thunderbolt Display, leaving it unclear if Apple’s display business is coming to an end or if another model is in the works for a future release. According to BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski, Apple isn’t done with Thunderbolt displays.
In a tweet shared this morning, Paczkowski said he’s heard from unspecified sources that a next-generation display will feature an integrated GPU, a possibility that was first bandied about in early June, ahead of WWDC.
A Thunderbolt Display with a built-in graphics card would be able to work with almost any Mac because it would be driven by an internal graphics card rather than the machine it’s connected to.
It’s believed Apple has not introduced a 5K display to match the 5K iMac because there are no machines that could run it over a single stream cable, a fact that will remain true even in upcoming machines like a rumored Skylake Retina MacBook Pro.
Paczkowski doesn’t include other details about the display Apple has in the works, but rumors have suggested it will feature a resolution of 5120 x 2880 and it’s also likely to include USB-C ports that support Thunderbolt 3.
Stock shortages ahead of the Worldwide Developers Conference led to speculation that Apple could refresh the Thunderbolt Display at the event, but that did not end up happening. There is no word on when Apple might release a new display, but with an integrated GPU, it would not have any specific requirements and could theoretically debut at any time.
If a new Thunderbolt Display is planned for 2016, a logical guess at a release date might be in the fall alongside rumored redesigned Retina MacBook Pros.