New Apple Silicon… Displays?! — Massive Leak Breakdown!

New Apple Cinema Display

A second-generation 32-inch Pro Display XDR. With Apple Silicon? But also, maybe the return of the Cinema Display? 24-inches like the M1 iMac, and 27-inches like the highly anticipated M1 Pro iMac.

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There’s a new report out from DylanDKT, who’s rated 78% accurate by Apple Track, saying LG, yes Lucky Goldstar Life is Good LG, is working on three new, so far unbranded displays… And one, maybe all three of them, could be waiting on that Apple logo.

I love, all caps LOVE the idea of Apple getting back into the consumer display space. Since Tony Stark Snapping the old Thunderbolt Display a few years ago, our only real options have been crap commercial panels, LG Ultrafine, or Apple’s literal 6K for 6K Pro Display. Which were both problematic for reasons I’ll get into in a minute. But, do I believe this particular rumor?

Well, in addition to the Ultra kinda-fines, LG has been making panels for Apple displays for a long, long time. Including the LED and Thunderbolt displays that they released alongside the original IPS iMacs. Also, when Apple unceremoniously exited the consumer display business a few years ago, it was those LG Ultrafine 4K and 5K that they collaborated on to fill the giant sucking gaping gaps they left behind.

But if these are meant to be actual Apple branded displays the rumors are talking about, LG wouldn’t be working on anything other than the mini-LED for the panels, which they’d then hand off to Apple’s display team for literally everything else, as well as Industrial Design, Hardware Engineering, and Platform technologies, to turn them into actual Apple products. Apple specs for fabrication, they don’t white label. So whatever enclosures these panels are currently in would just be for testing and validation. If these are meant to be actual Apple branded displays.

Which could make the kind of sense that does, since Apple has often used LG panels in their displays. Including the LED and Thunderbolt displays that released alongside the original IPS iMacs.

Now, the first and most likely candidate for that Apple brand is a new 32-inch Pro Display XDR. Basically a second generation version of what Apple introduced back at WWDC 2019 alongside the re-cheese-grator’ed modular Mac Pro. Pro Display was good for its time. I mean, it was $5K — or $6K with the stand — which blew a lot of non-pro brains and made it the butt of a lot of jokes. But it was also a workable replacement for traditional, much more expensive reference monitors, which could easily cost you $42K. Even studios couldn’t afford to push those across the color management pipeline, but Pro Display XDR, that was way, way easier to scale.

But the OG Pro Display XDR was a also little… early. It wasn’t mini-LED… though it tried real hard. With nowhere nearly as many local dimming zones as we have on more modern displays like the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro. So it’s way more prone to blooming, vignetting, and off-angle issues. It had a lot of technological workarounds, a lot of cooling, and even though it’s cheap compared to traditional reference monitors, it’s still hella expensive for anyone not on a color-accurate production pipeline… which is the vast majority of people. Especially as Apple’s only current display.

So an improved version of that, an even better reference monitor, keeping the nano-texture option, adding up to 120Hz ProMotion adaptive refresh, even at the same price would be great. At a reduced price… fucking amazing.

As to having custom Apple silicon inside. Well, the iMac’s have had a custom Apple timing controller in them since they went 5K. That’s how they went 5K, by stitching and syncing two streams together within any tearing down the middle. That’s also why we lost Target Display Mode. Now I know every nerd worth their Twitter snark is probably hoping there’s be like an external GPU in the display that’d take some of the burden off the Mac you’re plugging it into. But my guess is it might be even a little more sophisticated than that, given all the display engines Apple’s been building into A-series and M-series for the last few years. Basically something that lets us get even better performance from the mini-LED than the atoms themselves would otherwise allow. Including an actually good I/O controller for an actually reliable hub...?

The other two displays, the 24-inch and 27-inch displays, could mark Apple’s long-rumored return to the consumer display space. Which would be… terrific. LG makes great panels but crappy enclosures, sometimes detrimentally so like when they forgot to properly tin-foil up the first run of Ultrafines to prevent Wi-Fi interference. Yeah. Quad-major oof. Also, I’m still a firm believer in the horn affect, which the opposite of the halo effect. The display is the most visible part of any machine, why give away that branding and that entry point to any other company?

If they get Apple logos, they could be the next generation of Apple Cinema Display — Not LED or Thunderbolt, but mini-LED and maybe marketed as Liquid Retina XDR, just like Apple’s other mini-LED displays?

Just big, beautiful, ultra-crisp, glossy displays, the kind that make Dave2D just ultra-happy?

Would the 24-inch version come in colors, and with an off-white bezel, to match the 24-inch iMac? Would the 27-inch version only be silver and space gray to match the iMac Pro? These are the questions that keep me up at night. I mean, not really. But kinda. It’d be ideal.

The 24-inch could just be an HDR display. Just HDR. Ha. How far we’ve come! The 27-inch could have some limited reference monitor capabilities as well, given the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pros have exactly those limited capabilities already.

Also, nano-texture option and 120Hz ProMotion, because that’s just what Pro versions get these days, right?

It’s unclear if they’d have dedicated Apple display silicon in them, like the rumored 32-inch, but I’d love to see an image signal processor for a 1080p webcam as well. Obviously, the original Pro Display is far too serious for such integrated video shenanigans, or it’s just meant for studios like ILM and Pixar where cameras are frowned open. But consumer displays? Gimme. Especially if they’re Apple branded.

Although, that could be true whether they have Apple logos on them or… they just end up being the next generation of Ultrafines. Because finding a quality display, something truly on par with Apple displays, has been really really hard for the last few years. Like, our eyes are bleeding from all the poor quality pixels we’ve been forced to stare at hard.