Apple has made major changes to its display in the past, but never like this. The new Apple Thunderbolt Display connects to your computer via a single Thunderbolt cable and gives you a vast array of ports and features that you normally wouldn’t expect to see on the back of a monitor. In some ways, it appears that Apple is trying to demonstrate the potential of Thunderbolt through this product rather than create just another overpriced monitor.
Here’s the deal: Apple is doing everything it can to feature the possibilities that Thunderbolt brings to the table. By integrating all of these features, it can showcase the potential while making a product that serves as a functional docking station that expands on the ports currently available on your standard Mac.
For some time, the Apple Cinema Displays have been shrugged off as being overpriced, considering what they offer. At $999, the new display may break that tradition by providing extras other monitors presently don’t. These features include:
- Three powered USB 2.0 ports
- FireWire 800 port
- Gigabit Ethernet port
- Thunderbolt port
- Built-in 2.1 speaker system (49 watts)
- Built-in FaceTime HD camera with microphone
- Built-in Thunderbolt cable
- Built-in Universal MagSafe cable (up to 85W)
The extra Thunderbolt port would appear to be icing on top of what is typically just a device that displays images generated by your computer. Through the Apple Thunderbolt Display, Mac users have the potential of enjoying two ethernet connections (handy in multi-network or home server situations), and connecting several other devices without the need for an additional external hub. This could go a long way towards clearing off desk space, which has long been one of Apple’s big design points.
So do these extra ports make the display worthwhile? At $999, this is still one of the most expensive displays of its size. The 2560-by-1440 LED-backlit display is enough to provide a crisp resolution across the 27-inch screen, but that hardly makes it the best deal out there. At its core, the Apple Thunderbolt Display is a showpiece that has value in aesthetics and while it could be worthwhile to some, it is still out of reach for many budget-minded consumers.