Don't worry, it's not the iPad.
The reason Apple’s Thunderbolt Display is hard to come by might not be why you think.
In a statement to Fortune on Friday, an Apple AAPL spokesperson confirmed earlier reports that the company is discontinuing the Thunderbolt Display. The spokesperson didn’t say whether Apple has future plans to build a display, but said customers should seek out third-party alternatives for their Macs.
“We’re discontinuing the Apple Thunderbolt Display,” the spokesperson told Fortune. “It will be available through Apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last. There are a number of great third-party options available for Mac users.”
Apple unveiled the Thunderbolt Display in 2011. The display comes with a 27-inch screen and, as its name might suggest, a Thunderbolt connection that allows users to transfer data. The display, which has a lofty $999 price tag, also features USB ports, an Ethernet port, and a charging cord for connected MacBook Airs or MacBook Pros.
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Apple billed the Thunderbolt Display as a top-notch option for those who want to a big-screen Mac experience, but its $999 price tag has come under scrutiny over the last several years. Better alternatives from a slew of competitors featuring higher resolutions and better color accuracy have hit store shelves at lower prices.
In response, Apple has done nothing. In fact, earlier this month, several reports cropped up, saying that Apple’s Thunderbolt Display stock was dwindling and some third-party retailers listed it as out of stock.
The dwindling stock prompted reports that Apple might be looking to replace the display with an improved alternative. Apple-tracking site 9to5Mac reported in early June that its sources said Apple was planning to replace its display with a new version featuring 5K resolution and an integrated graphics chips that would deliver high-quality visuals. The sources speculated that Apple could unveil the new display at the Worldwide Developers Conference it held earlier this month.
Alas, Apple’s developer show was a software-focused affair and no display was announced. Meanwhile, the company’s Thunderbolt Display stock was dwindling, leading to further speculation over what Apple had planned.
Now that Apple has said what its plans are for the Thunderbolt Display and has suggested customers look for third-party displays for their Macs, the company might actually consider getting out of the monitor business. However, Apple has been in the market for a long time, and there is reason to believe that it might want to offer a 5K display, considering its iMac already comes with such a screen. And although Apple has left markets before, it’s not typically one to tuck its tail between its legs and run away.
Another display, in other words, might be on its way.
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But as with everything else Apple-related, it’s impossible to know for sure what it has planned until it actually launches new hardware.
For now, then, just know that if you really want an old, expensive display, Apple’s supply is limited, so act fast.