What Happened to 5K Displays?

LG just recently released another beast of a 5K widescreen; looks like what the Dell above is based on.

Now we have Ming-Chi Kuo suggesting Apple’s new display will be a 6K retina quality 218ppi model.

Sounds a weird option to me that Apple would go for this. But then, it may be they simply cannot wait for Thunderbolt 4 to arrive, which would offer enough bandwidth for 8 or 10K options along with hub like functionalities. So a 6K may sell well when marketed especially for use with a new Mac Pro. We’ll see.

We now have the answer. At WWDC last week Apple announced their own display, the 32 inch Pro Display XDR. But with a $5,000 price tag, there are undoubtedly less expensive alternatives. If you’ve got the scratch, though, it looks to be a great monitor. You can see it at https://www.apple.com/pro-display-xdr/.

One thing that’s not clear to me is what Macs, other than the Mac Pro, will be able to drive this 6K monitor at full resolution. I’m guessing that the iMac Pro will be able to, since it can drive two 5K displays along with its built-in screen, but the MacBook Pro can supposedly drive only one 5K display—will it have enough overhead to run a 6K display?

And regardless, I’m sadly priced out of it. I was hoping for a 5K Retina Thunderbolt Display to replace the non-Retina one I use now with my Retina iMac (and that’s noticeably lower quality).

I’m sad about being priced out of both Mac Pro and the display. Dell does sell an 8k monitor, and they just dumped the price from $4,999 to $3,899. B&H is selling it for $3,415, and you can pick it up at the store or have it shipped to you today:


Samsung’s got an 8k on sale for $3,999, down from $4,999 at Best Buy. This is way out of my price range too:


Apple is, once again, disrupting the high end professional market.

No doubt Apple will announce compatible Macs when the monitor is released for sale. Most of us, though, like you, will be priced out of it. Not that I’m dissatisfied with my current iMac. Because I am visually impaired, however, I don’t need a Retina display of any kind. That said, there are plenty of Retina Macs available for those who do. Nor are many people likely to dispose of their current investment in big monitors to pick up an even bigger one. The market for that Pro Display XDR is likely to be as limited as the market for the new Mac Pro. Given the small potential market, I’m surprised Apple went for it. But, even though I’m no longer in the market for a Mac Pro, I’m glad Apple did, if for nothing else than for bragging rights. I can’t wait to see which, if any, PCs will even try to contend with it, at any price. Though Apple mentioned a way expensive “reference” monitor in the keynote. Who owns one of those, except, maybe, James Cameron?

5K is the new “curved display.”

While appealing and cool to most people—it’s simply not useful for the overwhelming majority of users. And it came at a time that fell in the middle of the more popular 4K and the hot new 6-8K.

5K not a gimmick when it’s used to provide the same pixel density (i.e. “Retina”) on a larger screen. The Apple iMac Retina 4K and Apple iMac Retina 5K have basically the same DPI (~218) but the former is 21.5" diagonal and the latter is 27". Apple’s Pro Display XDR is 6K but it’s also 32" diagonal so it’s still 218 DPI.

The Dell 32" 8K is 280 DPI, I expect there are diminishing returns from increasing the DPI. For example, I wonder if anyone notices the higher DPI of the iPhone X, XS, XS Max compared to the XR and previous generation iPhones. I feel like it only matters if you put it in a VR headset, where there are lenses magnifying it.

1 Like

The new display is wonderful but most of us wanted a 5K display based on the iMac. One possibility is that Apple wanted to started high and there might be a new much lower cost display in a year or 2 that incorporates lessons and technology from the announced display.

Another possibility is that the iMac is undergoing a case redesign and they want a new 5K display to match the new iMac display.

Or they might just not going into the lower priced display market. Which would be a shame since I don’t think there are great displays for our Macs, the 3rd party 5K retina display market never appeared. No one seems that happy with the LG displays that fill this niche.

And those LG displays are disappearing. Not a lot of Retina-level screens available for the Mac in general, it seems, much less something that matches nicely with the 5K Retina iMac. :frowning:

If you total up all the people working in VFX shops on a superhero or James Cameron movie, there can be hundreds and hundreds of them for each special effect. Double or triple the headcount for each one of 3D is involved. And it’s not just special effects. Movies, TV shows, commercials, high end print, the overall graphics market itself profits from high resolution, super speedy rendering, color accuracy, etc. It might not be the largest market, but it is a very highly profitable one.

I just read this about LG the other day, and LG has been shipping and selling probably millions more mobile phones across the globe than Apple does each year:


I’m in the same situation. Still rocking the Thunderbolt display, as the 5K LG monitor looks ugly and cheap to me so I refuse using it at home. I’ve heard those 5K LG monitors are being discontinued soon. Wondering if they are being replaced by another LG or Apple might announce a non-Pro version of their XDR display?

Yes, it’s clear the LG Retina displays are on their way out. We wrote about the replacement, a 23-inch display that’s roughly 4K but not as high PPI as the older ones.

Yay! Apple is now carrying a new LG 27-inch 5K Display.