The Thunderbolt Display is Out of Date

A Better Product

While there is an opportunity for Apple to create a 30" 4K or 5K display, they'll inevitably continue to make the 27" 2560 by 1440 IPS Thunderbolt Display. That product, I believe, is really out of date. The current version of the display first began production in July 2011 and hasn't changed since.

The most obvious thing that needs to be modernized is the overall design of the monitor. It should match the thinner design of the iMac. This would include the adoption of a fully laminated display.

Because the Display is used as a docking station of sorts through Thunderbolt, it's important that its Thunderbolt connection be a speedy one. So upgrading to 2.0 would be great. And with a widened Thunderbolt pipe, upgrading the display's three USB 2.0 ports to 3.0 would make a lot of sense. At this point, ditching the FireWire 800 port for an additional Thunderbolt 2.0 port would be a good move too.

So that's kind of the baseline of upgrades that most people expect, but what could Apple do to make their monitor a little more unique? For one, giving the display Dual Gigabit Ethernet could give professionals that want to have the mobility of a notebook an advantage that is currently reserved to the Mac Pro.

They could also make the display much more versatile by including a HDMI 2.0 port. So you could connect an Xbox or something like that.

A Display for the Future

Beyond ports, I think that Apple should also consider allowing the device to connect with iOS devices. By slipping the internals of an Apple TV into the display, Apple would be able to make their display enormously more valuable, while adding very little manufacturing cost. For the Apple TV functionality to work, they would need to add IR to the front of the display along with WiFi 802.11ac and of course an Apple Remote. They might need to upgrade the processor from an A5 to an A5X in order to handle the larger resolution.

Besides being able to use your Thunderbolt Display as a monitor for your Mac, being able to use AirPlay to beam audio, video, and images from your iOS device would be huge. Using Airplay mirroring, you could use the display as a second monitor without needing to plug anything in.

There's a ton that Apple could do to make their Thunderbolt Display feel fresh. What else could they do that I'm missing?