Apple has confirmed that it will be discontinuing its popular Thunderbolt Display. The Cupertino-based company first introduced the stunning Thunderbolt Display to the market back in the year 2011, where it has remained pretty much untouched ever since without a refresh.
Many analysts and researchers believed that the company would announce a replacement model during this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2016) keynote event, potentially coming with a 5K Retina display, but that has so far failed to materialize without a replacement in sight.
In the announcement, an Apple spokesperson confirmed that the existing Thunderbolt Display would continue to remain on sale until existing supplies of the display were exhausted: “We’re discontinuing the Apple Thunderbolt Display. It will be available through Apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last. There are a number of great third-party options available for Mac users.”
The planned discontinuation of the Thunderbolt Display in its current form, mixed with the fact that the official line is to recommend that users explore third-party solutions, would suggest that the company either isn’t planning on releasing or announcing a replacement model, or that one is in the works but just isn’t ready to be announced.
Apple hasn’t provided any additional clarity on why it’s choosing to cease production of the Thunderbolt Display. Nor has the company dropped any hints pertaining to the existence of a 4K or 5K display to take its place.
Stock shortages of the Thunderbolt Display in various Apple retail outlets around the globe had sparked rumors that there was going to be a WWDC announcement. Hindsight has now shown us that WWDC was all about software announcements for the company’s major platforms, with not a single mention of any new hardware making it onto the agenda.
If Apple is working on a new replacement to come in the future, rumor suggests that it could feature a 5120-by-2880 pixel display with USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports. It’s also highly likely that the design of the display would be refreshed to fall more in line with the visuals of the current iMacs that come with a much thinner form factor than previous models.
Consumers are now faced with a choice; either take Apple’s advice and explore the various third-party options that are available, or wait in the hope that a new 5K Thunderbolt Display is soon announced.