Along with today’s MacBook Air and Mac mini updates, Apple has also updated their 27” Cinema Display. The display now goes by a new name: the Apple Thunderbolt Display (ATD). As the name implies, the display now features Intel’s new Thunderbolt interface, which Apple has heavily adopted in all new 2011 Macs. The ATD is world’s first commercially available Thunderbolt display and the second Thunderbolt device, the first one being Promise’s Pegasus enclosure

Lets go through the specifications now:

Apple Thunderbolt Display Specifications
Screen size 27"
Resolution 2560x1440
Panel type In-plane switching (IPS)
Brightness 375 cd/m2
Viewing angles 178°/178°
Contrast ratio 1000:1
Response time 12ms
Cables (built-in) Thunderbolt, MagSafe
Ports 3x USB 2.0, FireWire 800, Gigabit Ethernet, Thunderbolt
Video and audio FaceTime HD camera with mic, 2.1 speaker system
Dimensions (WxDxH) 25.7" x 8.15" x 19.35"
Weight 23.5lb
Price $999

Essentially, the ATD is just a 27” Cinema Display with Thunderbolt. The screen size is the same, the resolution is the same, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the panel was exactly the same as well. From outside, you can’t see any difference, sans the extra ports. The dimensions are a match. Even the price stays at $999. 

The difference comes when we talk about Thunderbolt and what it brings. The Cinema Display had three cables: Mini DisplayPort, MagSafe (power) and USB 2.0. Thanks to Thunderbolt, mDP and USB 2.0 have been merged into one and there are now only two cables: MagSafe and Thunderbolt.

Laptop-as-a-desktop users rejoice, the Thunderbolt Display features FireWire 800, USB 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet - all of which are carried over the single Thunderbolt cable. There is also a second Thunderbolt port for daisy-chaining. As Thunderbolt provides up to 10Gb/s per channel, it’s more than adequate for 2560x1440 display and an external RAID box as we mentioned in our Promise Pegasus R6 & Mac Thunderbolt Review


Example of daisy-chaning 

Apple's Thunderbolt Display really shows us the potential of Thunderbolt by integrating many different interface standards into a single cable. Honestly the only thing that's missing is audio-out on the Thunderbolt Display itself for users who prefer external speakers. 

The biggest, and possibly the only, issue here is USB 2.0 - it feels so outdated considering that nearly all PCs have USB 3.0 now. We probably won't see  USB 3.0 support from Apple until Ivy Bridge brings it natively in 2012. However, even with only USB 2.0, the ATD is a great option for the owners of 2011 Macs with Thunderbolt. Apple will continue to sell the existing 27-inch Cinema Display as the new Thunderbolt Display will not work with machines that don't support Thunderbolt.

The Apple Thunderbolt Display is available from Apple's Online Store with an estimated shipping time of 6-8 weeks. 

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  • Samic - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Actually, Cisco didn't file Declaration of Use and owns it so Apple just took it.

    Not so with ios/iOS, where Cisco does own the trademark and Apple had to pay Cisco for it..
  • diamondsw2 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Apparently you don't understand trademark law. The two products are not in the same product segment and there is no potential confusion between a phone and a cabling standard.

    And finally, Intel owns the trademark, not Apple. Just... so much trolling fail.
  • ViperV990 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    How many of these displays can be daisy-chained together while still functioning as a display?
  • dagamer34 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Two at max, assuming you have a powerful enough video card (13" MBPs need not apply).
  • ViperV990 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

  • Casper42 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Can you daisy chain an old 27" ACD off the new 27" ATD though?

    Would at least give people with an older DP based Cinema Display a good way to keep using it when dropping a grand on the new monitor.

    My understanding from the MBP Reviews and others is that the TB port on the Machine will support either TB or straight DP, so the question is really, can you support both on a 2nd hop Daisy Chain also?
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    At least Pegasus+ACD works so can't see why ATD+ACD wouldn't work.
  • repoman27 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    You should be able to daisy-chain a second DisplayPort 1.1a display off of the the ATD, but the machine with the Thunderbolt host controller that they are all connected to needs to have a DisplayPort 1.2 MST capable GPU.
  • repoman27 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    It's not so much the GPU being "powerful" enough, it's to do with whether or not it supports the DisplayPort 1.2 multi-stream transport specification.

    Thus daisy chaining multiple displays would only seem to be possible at the moment with Thunderbolt equipped 15 and 17-inch MacBook Pros and iMacs. Even the Mac mini with discrete graphics is out, as the AMD 6630 only supports the DP 1.1 spec.
  • cyrusfox - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Your wrong there, the Radeon HD 6630m is the mobile turks. Meaning it has UVD 3.0 AND supports DisplayPort 1.2 as all true Radeon 6000 Processors do. The only 6000 processors which don't support DP 1.2 are:
    Mobile- 6330,6350,6370,6530,6550,6570,6830,6850,6870

    As you can tell, these are all just rehashed 5xxx series, hence they did not receive neither UVD3.0 or DP1.2 but have the same specs as the 5xxx series, namely UVD2.2 and DP1.2

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