Removal of Sharp display from Apple Store probably doesn’t mean Apple’s 4K display is imminent

The 'now you see it, now you don't' 4K Sharp display

The ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ Sharp PN-K321 4K display

When Apple started offering a Sharp 4K display in its European online Apple Store, then withdrew it shortly afterwards, some speculated that this might mean an Apple 4K display is about to be launched.

It’s possible, of course, but I strongly suspect not. As I argued in October, the launch of the Mac Pro would have been the obvious point at which to announce an Apple 4K display – and current MacBook Pros can’t drive 4K displays at decent frame-rates, so I can’t see Apple launching a display that would leave the bulk of Mac owners disappointed.

The far more likely explanation is that Apple plans to sell the Sharp displays alongside the Mac Pro once it launches – as I suggested it might in that same opinion piece in October. The displays were inadvertently made live on the store before the Pro was launched, and have been removed until the Pro is available … 

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If you are interested in the display, it is available at a number of retailers like B&H in the US  or Amazon where it retails for $3200-3300. We’ve also picked up the inexpensive $405 Seiki 39″ 4K display and will have a review this week.

It’s not the first time we’ve heard speculation about Apple’s 4K display plans: it was suggested only recently that AUO panels could form the basis of a Thunderbolt 2 display.

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  1. roanokephoto - 9 years ago

    The Mac Pro was announced early in an otherwise unlikely scenario of the pro market pent up demand for a suitable replacement of an aging neglected product line. An early announcement of an Apple 4K monitor doesn’t seem necessary to keep the pro market looking elsewhere and should be announced in regular Apple fashion, when they become available, perhaps this December with the Mac Pro. It seems unlikely Apple will not release a monitor. Name another Apple product that requires the use of a non Apple product to work as designed, it’s not the Apple way of creating an Apple experience.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      Announcing in December seems highly unlikely to me – see the opinion piece linked above – but we shall see …

  2. Tim Jr. - 9 years ago

    I’m not caring about 4k display. My new rMBP could barley run it anyway and I couldn’t AFFORD IT. What I DO want is an updated TB2 display with iMac like design/specs with USB3 and TB2 ports darn it! The current 27″ resolution is just fine for consumers, if they’d just release the gosh darn thing!

    Why we still have a USB 2.0/TB1 display is confusing to me.

    • zoidbert - 9 years ago

      Just posted almost the same thing. That this display hasn’t been refreshed since September 2011 (that’s 816 days; see the MacRumors Buyers Guide) is perplexing. You’d think Apple’d at least have switched it to USB3 (or updated the MagSafe connector). I thought for sure when the new bezel iMacs were released back when that a new display was imminent.

  3. giorgiopagliara - 9 years ago

    I wouldn’t buy the actual 27″ Thunderbolt display because is thicker and heavier than an iMac 27″ and I will not buy an Apple 27″ (or whatever) 4K display if the price is around $3k.
    It’s time for 2 different Thunderbolt displays?
    One with a “normal” resolution, a lower price and with the new iMac style deign, and the other one with a 4k resolution and a much higher price?

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      I suspect there will be two for quite some time as the first 4K display will be a lot more expensive than the present Thunderbolt Display. As the cost of 4K displays fall, eventually the lower-res one will be dropped.

  4. Allan Clark - 9 years ago

    Clearly a 4k is not a product for joe-average-user. Cue the many people claiming to not want one, not care, etc. More will buy it when it’s available than currently admit it, and there will be the usual “oh, it’s better than we thought!” while AAPL stock takes a 5% hit. These things always happen.

    My own wish list includes reducing the number of continuously-running processes (Do I need a JavaScheduler? Plus an iTunes Helper? Plus a Folder-actions-helper? Plus a ShareKit helper? Plus a DiskImageHelper? An Unmount Watcher? 6 Sandob helpers, and 5 Component helpers? Do ya think one helper with one RSeg would do it? inetd+cron anyone?) there are optimizations which would yield more things shut down in an idle box, reducing memory fragmentation and offering more freed up Resident Seg core for other processes.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      Personally, I’ll be pleased when both Java and Flash are merely unpleasant memories …

      • alex tsalyuk - 9 years ago

        Java is great for non web apps.Flash on the otherhand, is jest bad.

      • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

        Java is a resource hog – kill them both, I say!

      • Helmut Mombour - 9 years ago

        Re Java: Usually Servers drink that type of coffee. Not really the league of Apple anymore. There resources are available. Only client exception is probably Java-Devs, but then there’ll be a Dev-Server. Eclipse might consume, but hey for the benefit ;-)

        And comparing Java w Flash is a bit odd anyways ..

        Where’s this coming from? Your kill-Java attitude?

      • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

        Many apps that use Java cause it to use high CPU rates – online backup services, photo editors, you name it.

  5. Shaun G - 9 years ago

    The important question is: Why doesn’t Apple have their 4K Cinema Displays ready in time for the Mac Pro launch? It’s not like they didn’t know it wasn’t coming. Tim Cook said last year that we would see the new Mac Pro in 2013. They’ve left the Mac Pro release date as late as possible (9 Dec today and still no sign of it). It’s not like the 4K display panels aren’t available. Clearly they are or Sharp wouldn’t be selling them. This is yet another total f*** up by Tim Cook. They guy is supposed to be a logistics expert and he can’t even procure 4K panels in time for the release of their most expensive product.

      • Shaun G - 9 years ago

        I just checked online and found out that the current 27″ Cinema Display was discontinued on 2 Dec 2013. So how does that factor into your equation? Presumably there will no longer be an Apple branded display available for the Mac Pro (or Mac Mini). You’re suggesting that they won’t release an Apple 4K display until sometime next year when the prices come down. So what are we supposed to do until then. Buy a Mac Pro without an Apple display? They might not be in the Apple Stores until Jan/Feb but I would still like to buy one when they are released in Dec. Sorry but this is a mess.

      • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

        The Cinema Display was replaced by the Thunderbolt Display:

    • Gregory Wright - 9 years ago

      You couldn’t wait to get that zing in could you.

    • roanokephoto - 9 years ago

      If Apple has doubled down on secrecy then we would not know if there is an Apple 4k monitor or not, it’s all speculation anyway. It would serve Apple well to announce a 4K on the day the Mac Pro is available. If it doesn’t happen, yes I would agree it is a small blunder no matter how small of a market the Mac Pro serves.

    • NQZ (@surgesoda) - 9 years ago

      First of all, Apple doesn’t make panels. Second, 4K is in it’s infancy. GPUs don’t support it, and most macs don’t support it. OS X doesn’t even support it yet! Not properly anyway. It’s too early. Yes, we all want ultra HD monitors, but it will be a few months before things are ready to go. Give Apple a chance to update mavericks so it can support 4K @ 60Hz and let’s hope the new mac pro supports HDMI 2.0.

  6. zoidbert - 9 years ago

    Honestly, I could give a damn about a 4K display; I’d be happy with a regular Thunderbolt Display refresh with USB3 ports and an additional TB pass-thru (not to mention an upgraded magsafe connector for “docking” my new MBP).

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      A Magsafe to Magsafe 2 converter would at least solve the latter issue

    • NQZ (@surgesoda) - 9 years ago

      I don’t understand why they can’t make the thunderbolt displays compatible with older macs that just have display port….at least give us a USB 3.0 version of the TB display, at minimum…man… :D

  7. NQZ (@surgesoda) - 9 years ago

    They removed it because OS X can’t do 4K, even if you do have the proper GPU / newer mac model. Mavericks is not capable of doing 4K @ 60Hz. The only way to achieve this is to run Windows 8 on your mac.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      This will be a very temporary removal, I’m sure. Apple demonstrated the Mac Pro connected to these displays so it’s not like the company doesn’t know the machine can drive them.


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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