Why There Needs to Be a Cheaper Apple Monitor

The Pro Display XDR is not enough

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

In 2016, Apple decided to stop selling computer monitors.

The Thunderbolt Display, which was sold without any updates for five straight years, was discontinued. The reason? The market for an Apple-branded external display just wasn’t there anymore. The margins were too small, and so were the quantities that they sold.

In 2019, Apple returned to making external displays when it released the Pro Display XDR. It has a 32-inch screen and a 6K backlit display with hundreds of mini-LEDs.

However, unlike the Thunderbolt Display, the Pro Display XDR wasn’t meant for you and me. That’s why I think it’s time for Apple to release an affordable display that the masses can enjoy.

The XDR Pro is Too Expensive

As magnificent as the Pro Display XDR undoubtedly is, it’s still going to cost you a minimum of $6,000. That’s $5,000 for the monitor and $1,000 for the stand. Or, as John Gruber once quipped, “$6K for 6K.”

If your business revolves around making content for TV, movies, or commercials, then you likely have no problems paying thousands of dollars for the best display that you can get your hands on.

For everyone else, this is a prohibitive price.

When Apple was selling the Thunderbolt Display in 2016, it retailed for $999. That’s still a lot for a monitor today, but it pales in comparison when compared to the $6,000 that you have to summon for a Pro Display XDR.

There is a Hole in Apple’s Lineup

When Apple launched the Pro Display XDR, it was released alongside a redesigned Mac Pro. That made complete sense. It was a pro-display for a pro-machine.

However, the Mac Pro is not the only Apple device that can use an external display. The Mac mini, for instance, is the original BYODKM device (Bring Your Own Display, Keyboard, and Mouse). MacBooks and even iPads can also use an external display.

Yet, if you want an Apple monitor to go with one of these devices, you have to buy the $6,000 Pro Display XDR. That’s insane.

If you buy an iPhone, iPad, MacBook, or even an Apple Watch, you have a range of options that span a variety of different price points. Unfortunately, if you buy an Apple monitor, you only have one choice. There needs to be more.

More People Are Working From Home

Choice is something that many of us have got more used to of late. In fact, one of the byproducts of the pandemic was that a lot of us got the opportunity to spend more time working at home.

Some of us really enjoyed that flexibility. We had more time in the morning to get kids ready for school, and we didn’t have to fight traffic on our morning commute. I mean, what’s not to like?

Working from home meant that home offices got an upgrade, which meant more people were buying monitors for their work-issued laptops. Very few of those monitors would have been Apple monitors. However, if Apple had been selling a cheaper external display during the pandemic, the sales numbers could have been a very different story.

The Competition is Not That Great

If you walked into an Apple Store and asked about external monitors, you would be presented with the choice between the Pro Display XDR or the LG UltraFine line.

The UltraFine displays are the only third-party monitors that are approved by Apple. They are available in 4K or 5K resolutions and a few different screen sizes. Yet, they are not without their issues. Reliability problems have plagued the UltraFine monitors for some time now, and they continue to have issues to this day.

Samsung, Acer, Dell, and others will gladly sell you an external monitor for your Mac. However, as petty as this sounds, very few of these displays actually look like they were designed to sit on a desk next to an Apple device.

When Apple designs a monitor, it looks like an Apple monitor, but it also works like an Apple monitor because Apple is in a unique position to optimize devices to work with the Mac.

When you have complete control over their hardware and the software, you can make something truly unique. Something that is integrated, reliable, and made to measure.

Right now, the only options we have are the plethora of anonymous-looking third-party displays with their ubiquitous black plastic frames.

We deserve better.

Apple Knows Best

At the end of the day, the only real reason Apple isn’t making a cheaper external monitor is that they don’t want to.

They either think the profit margins will not be high enough, or they don’t believe the demand is high enough to justify the R&D.

I think that’s a shame. I would welcome the return of a cheaper Apple monitor. Note that I said cheaper, not cheap. An Apple monitor will never be cheap, but if it is more affordable than a Pro Display XDR, then at least we would have something to aspire to.

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