Writing for 9to5Mac, Chance Miller says the problems with LG UltraFine 5K displays and routers is a strong sign that Apple should return to the display business. He’s right, and I still hope for a Thunderbolt Display with an integrated GPU that has been rumored in the past.
A GPU, or graphics processing unit, is a single-chip processor that creates lighting effects and transforms objects every time a 3D scene is redrawn. These are mathematically-intensive tasks, which otherwise, would put quite a strain on the central processing unit (CPU). Removing this burden from the CPU on the computer itself frees up cycles that can be used for other tasks.
I’d love to see a next gen Thunderbolt Display that features a 5K resolution display of 5120×2880 pixels (as does the iMac with 5K Retina Display) and integrates a dedicated external GPU into the display itself.
It takes a lot of graphics power to push 5K worth of pixels, which means that normal super high-resolution displays require connected computers to include significantly powerful GPUs. Since Apple seems obsessed with making Mac laptops as thin and light as possible, their built-in GPUs can only be so powerful.
I expect new iMacs within the next couple of months. I don’t think Apple will, but I’d love for the company to take the display design of the all-in-ones screen and give us an Apple-branded monitor as it has in the past — but with a built-in GPU.