Apple launched its Apple Thunderbolt Display back in July 2011, although it continued to sell the 27in Cinema Display, which was last updated in July 2010. It seems likely that the company will soon update its monitors. A new version of Apple's monitors was expected to be unveiled when Apple started selling the new Mac Pro but no such monitor has been released. 

In this article we will assess whether Apple is likely to update the Thunderbolt display; whether this display is likely to be 4K, or just aimed at consumers; and how much it is likely to cost.

Will Apple announce a new monitor?

It's been a couple of years since Apple launched the Thunderbolt Display so we expect that the company will have a new display to show us soon.

It makes sense that Apple would want to push its range of displays to the MacBook market, encouraging owners of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro to purchase a second screen, indeed, new features in Mavericks are targetted at the use of a second screen.

[Read our article on using Multiple Displays in Mavericks]

However, those users would currently be advised to purchase a low-cost screen from another manufarturer rather than fork out £899 for Apple's Thunderbolt display (that's more than the price of the 11-in MacBook Air!)

The other market that could be hoping that Apple updates its display is the creative market. But those professional users - perhaps including some who have purchased the new Mac Pro - will get more advanced technology, and more for their money, if they look at other display manufacturers.

Read our latest display reviews here.

Apple could equally stop manufacuring displays alltogether. We'd speculate that it's not a particularly profitable business for Apple. However, if the company has any intention to make a television screen in the future perhaps it wishes to maintain some presence in the display space.

When will Apple announce a new monitor?

It's been a couple of years since Apple launched the Thunderbolt Display so we expect that the company will have a new display to show us soon.

If Apple planned to release a 4K monitor to be used with the new Mac Pro it seems strange that it would have missed the new Mac Pro launch date.

Apple might update its monitors when it brings out the rumoured iTV or Apple Television.

Will the new Apple monitor be 4K?

With the new Mac Pro able to support up to three 4K displays or six Thunderbolt displays, there was some speculation that Apple would launch a 4K monitor with a resolution of 4069 x 2160 (or 3840 x 2160) pixels. However, currently Apple is selling a Sharp 4K 31.5-inch display for £3,499. 

Will Apple make its own 4K display? It seems likely that it won't on the basis of it being a small market and a very expensive product. A 4K display from Apple would likely cost £4,000 to £5,000, and that's because of the high price of the 4K panels. That price won't be coming down quite yet...

However, if the rumours are true about Apple's plans for a television screen it is possible that those plans also include a 4K monitor: if the panels Apple was ordering for a television could double up as 4K panels for it's Mac Pro monitor the price might not be as high.

For now, Apple remains mum over whether it will produce a monitor capable of offering 4K.

Indeed, Apple may have no intention of providing a screen for the professional Mac users.

What other features and specs will we see in Apple's new monitor?

We expect to see the following specs from Apple's new display

  • Retina display: To qualify as a Retina display, a monitor would need to offer at least 107ppi (pixels per inch)
  • iMac like design with thinner edges
  • Thunderbolt 2
  • USB 3

Will Apple launch a 30in display?

Apple used to sell a 30in display until replacing it with the 27in Cinema Display back in July 2010. Given Apple's desire to increase pixel density to qualify as a 'Retina display' it would seem unlikely that it will increase the size of the monitor quite yet.

How much will Apple's new monitor cost?

Apple's Thunderbolt display costs £899 currently and the Cinema Display costs £899. We expect that the Cinema Display will be phased out. The Thunderbolt display could see a price increase, although the market for Apple's display is equally consumers with laptops as it is professionals with pro Macs.

With this in mind we'd expect Apple to continue to offer a display to the laptop market, but perhaps at a lower price than currently, and potentially look into offering a display for the creative market, with more modern features.