Apple has a better track record updating iMac-display tech than display-display tech

Home » Apple has a better track record updating iMac-display tech than display-display tech
Apple has a better track record updating iMac-display tech than display-display tech

Apple finally made the standalone 27-inch display we’ve all wanted since 2014. In the process, Apple retired the Intel 27-inch iMac without an Apple silicon-powered version planned for this year. Disappointing as that may be for fans of large all-in-one desktops, there’s a chance this could bode well for Apple’s display ambitions – or not.

For the sake of this argument, let’s set aside the 4.5K iMac (it doesn’t come with nano-texture) and 6K Pro Display XDR (it doesn’t come with a stand).

Apple’s four most recent standalone displays priced below $6,000 include:

  • 27″ Studio Display (2022)
  • 27″ Thunderbolt Display (2011)
  • 27″ Cinema Display (2010)
  • 24″ Cinema Display (2008)

That’s four display changes across 14 years.

Meanwhile, in the iMac space, you can easily point to four display enhancements across just a few years:

  • 5K resolution
  • P3 color gamut
  • True Tone display
  • Nano-texture glass option

Apple Studio Display offers or includes each of these features, but the point is that Apple used hardware iterations of the iMac to include new enhancements to the screen.

These changes were never more than a couple years apart from being added. Compare that to the pace of Apple’s standalone display updates. In the eight years, Apple has far outpaced its independent display features with display features in the iMac.

Simply put, Apple has developed a better track record for releasing new features in iMac displays than it has in standalone displays.

So where does that bring us? Here’s the question I’m considering: Will Apple update the Studio Display with iterative display enhancements every two years or so, or was the release of iterative display enhancements driven by iMac hardware updates?

Only time will tell, but I wouldn’t consider a display model priced between the Studio Display and Pro Display XDR as satisfying the appetite for iterative display changes met by the last few years of iMacs.

Features like variable refresh rate and HDR support seem more likely to come in a mid-tier display than an updated Studio Display for the same price in two years — although that’s something I would love to be wrong about.

But what about the next P3 color gamut or True Tone or optional nano-texture glass? Will features of this caliber that arrived in updated iMacs make their way to updated Studio Displays for around the same price in years to come?

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