Apple’s Thunderbolt display has been discontinued and with no announcement of a replacement the models in stock at Stores and dealers will be the only option for customers looking for an Apple branded display.
Apple’s announcement that the display was no longer going to be offered seemed ill-timed and out of character. Especially as it pointed out alternative third-party options for customers to investigate.
The conventional wisdom is that Apple is going to release a 5K display, possibly with a built-in graphics card. Clearly if that is the case then the replacement isn’t ready and isn’t likely to be for some time.
Does Apple actually have plans to replace its display? Possibly not. Why direct customers to third-parties if a new product is on track? Why announce that the display is discontinued at all, rather than just allowing stocks to dwindle as production of the replacement is ramped up, which is what Apple always does?
So if there is no replacement incoming why would Apple kill what we assume is a profitable line? The clue might well be in the announcement – stocks will continue to be sold off, although no discount is being suggested.
Doe the low-volume nature of a high-end display sit against everything that Apple – and Tim Cook in particular – stands for? As a business Apple has always been about low inventory levels and product lifecycle management. Is a high-end display just too slow selling to make it worth retaining in the product line?
It may well be that Apple has a plan to replace its display line, and that replacement will support new colour spaces, connection technology and, yes, even embedded graphics hardware, but that clearly isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight.
Whatever Apple has planned for this space I suspect that we won’t find out until 2017.