Apple’s Next Pro Display Might Include the iPhone 11’s Powerful A13 Chip

Big Sur Pro Display Mac mini Credit: Apple
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Two years ago, Apple returned to the external display market in a really big way with its stunning Pro Display XDR — a $4,999 external monitor clearly designed with hardcore professionals in mind — and now it looks like the company may be planning to make an even bigger splash with its next ultra-premium display.

While Apple claimed that the Pro Display XDR was being offered at a “breakthrough price point,” many scoffed at the very idea of paying almost $5K for an external monitor that didn’t even include a $999 stand.

To be fair, Apple has had an odd relationship with the external display market over the years. After almost a decade of producing its pretty great Cinema Displays and Thunderbolt Displays, it basically ceded the market to LG, and it’s clear the Pro Display XDR was never intended to be the next-generation Cinema Display.

After all, this display debuted alongside Apple’s insanely powerful new Mac Pro, which had a starting price of $6,000 but could easily be configured well into the five-figure price range, topping out at around $52,000 (including the $400 wheels). According to an exclusive report from 9to5Mac, however, Apple is planning something even more powerful — a screen that will pack in the same A13 chip used in the iPhone 11, complete with the Neural Engine. 

At this point, there’s no indication of when — or even if — this display will launch. Sources say that it’s being tested internally right now under the codename J327, but there’s very little information on what other specs it might feature.

If Apple is planning on building it with a dedicated A-series SoC, however, it’s safe to say that it’s not going to come cheap. This will likely be either a direct successor to the Pro Display XDR, or possibly even a more premium version — a sort of Pro Display XDR.. “Pro.”

An Intelligent Display

Rumours have been floating around for years that Apple was working on a premium display with a built-in GPU, but with the company having abandoned the traditional display business around the same time, they didn’t really get taken very seriously.

Then, when the Pro Display XDR arrived two years ago without a GPU, these earlier rumours appeared to be little more than wishful thinking. However, if this latest report is true, it looks like Apple merely decided that the idea needed a bit more time in the oven.

Putting an A13 chip into a display would open up a whole world of new possibilities. At a basic level, the SoC could function as a co-processor to offload graphics processing resources from an attached Mac.

With a Neural Engine to power machine learning capabilities, however, the display could also offer intelligent resolution and colour management for the kind of unparalleled accuracy that professional reference monitors demand.

It could also power smart features like AirPlay, or even Face ID and video conferencing applications from a built-in camera.

At this point, however, it’s not clear if even Apple knows what it might do with an A13 chip in an external display. The project is clearly still in the R&D stages, and figuring that out may be part of the challenge.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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