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Posts tagged with "Displays"

iPhone 15, USB-C, and External Displays

Apple published an extensive support document about the USB-C connector on the new iPhone 15 lineup (we should be receiving our new iPhones later this week at MacStories, so stay tuned for our coverage), and a few details about compatibility with external displays caught my attention.

For starters, yes – Apple implemented DisplayPort connections over USB-C just like on the iPad Pro. The iPhone, however, is limited to a lower resolution:

iPhone uses the DisplayPort protocol to support connections to USB-C displays at up to 4K resolution and 60Hz.

Note that the latest iPad Pros support connections up to 6K, allowing you to connect an iPad Pro to a Pro Display XDR if you hate your wallet. You can try this with an iPhone 15 too, but display resolution is going to be limited to 4K. The Studio Display will be supported too, obviously.

Another tidbit from Apple’s support document:

You can connect your iPhone to an HDMI display or TV with a USB-C to HDMI adapter or cable. Adapters and cables that support HDMI 2.0 can output video from your iPhone at 4K resolution and 60Hz.

The Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter is compatible with iPhone. This adapter can output video from iPhone at up to 4K resolution and 60Hz, including content in HDR10 or Dolby Vision if your display or TV supports HDR.

If my theory is correct, we should soon be able to connect an iPhone to an HDMI capture card (such as the ones I covered in my iPadOS 17 review) via Apple’s adapter and an HDMI cable, connect the capture card to an iPad, and use a compatible app to see the iPhone’s display on your iPad. That could be used for screencasts, playing videos from an iPhone on the iPad’s display, or, better yet, play a videogame from the iPhone in a Stage Manager window on the iPad.

The iPhone itself doesn’t support Stage Manager, so, unlike Samsung phones, it can’t be turned into a desktop workstation when plugged into an external monitor (I hope this happens down the road though). However, I do believe we’re going to start seeing some interesting experiments with iPhones being used as handheld gaming consoles with external monitors. Whether you’ll be using a capture card to turn an iPad into an external monitor for an iPhone using apps like Orion1 or Genki Studio2 or connect it to a portable OLED display, I think this newfound hardware modularity is going to be fascinating to observe.


  1. I tested the new app by the makers of Halide today shortly before it came out, and while I found its onboarding and UI delightful and the app worked well at standard resolutions, its built-in upscaling mode didn’t work for me. I tried displaying Nintendo Switch games on my iPad Pro using Orion and 4K upscaling, but the feature made games unplayable due to 3-4 seconds of added latency. I hope the Orion developers can work on a fix for this since software-based upscaling that doesn’t require a separate dongle could be a fantastic reason to use an iPad as a monitor. ↩︎
  2. This is the app that I covered as Capture Pro in my iPadOS 17 review. As it turns out, the developer teamed up with the folks at Genki (makers of the excellent Covert Dock Mini that I use with my Switch) and released the app under the name Genki Studio on the App Store this week. The functionality of the app is unchanged, and I still recommend it. ↩︎
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Samsung and Dell Take Aim at the Mac Monitor Market

Dell's upcoming 6K UltraSharp display. Source: Dell.

Dell’s upcoming 6K UltraSharp display. Source: Dell.

Dan Seifert writing for The Verge explains why this year’s CES has been such an exciting one for Mac users:

Though there have been many monitors marketed toward MacBook owners over the years, with features such as USB-C connectivity, high-wattage charging, and nicer than average designs, they’ve typically all had traditional 4K panels and sub-par pixel densities, as opposed to the higher-resolution displays that Apple puts in its devices. There was always a compromise required with one of those other monitors if you hooked a MacBook up to it.

Other than LG’s UltraFine displays, which had quality-control issues over the years, Mac users had no display options that matched the resolutions found on MacBook Pros or the 5K iMac. That changed with Apple’s Pro Display XDR and the Studio display, but both displays arrived with extremely high price tags.

That’s why monitors announced by Samsung and Dell at CES this week are so encouraging. Prices haven’t been set yet, but it’s a safe bet that they will be competitive with Apple’s.

The Samsung ViewFinity S9. Source: Samsung.

The Samsung ViewFinity S9. Source: Samsung.

Both displays promise functionality not found in Apple’s displays too. Samsung’s 5K ViewFinity S9 goes toe-to-toe with the Studio Display’s specs and adds a bunch of ports not available on Apple’s display.

Dell seems to be aiming directly at the Pro Display XDR. As Seifert explains:

Perhaps more interesting is the new Dell UltraSharp 32, the first monitor I’m aware of that matches the Pro Display XDR’s 32-inch size and 6K resolution. It doesn’t have the same HDR-capable local dimming display technology as the XDR, instead using an IPS Black panel sourced from LG, but it comes with integrated speakers, microphones, and a beefy 4K webcam, all of which are lacking from Apple’s high-end option. The UltraSharp 32 may be best described as a bigger version of the Studio Display, as it provides all of the necessary desk peripherals most people need but with a larger — just as sharp — panel. The Dell also tops out at 600 nits of brightness (the same as the Studio Display and Samsung’s S9) and comes with a whole litany of ports, including two Thunderbolt 4 (with up to 140W of power delivery), HDMI 2.1, ethernet, and four USB-A ports. It’s basically a complete Thunderbolt dock built into the back of the display.

I’m a big fan of Apple’s Studio Display, but its price was a hard pill to swallow and a factor that I’m sure has limited its appeal significantly. It remains to be seen how Samsung and Dell will price their monitors, but it’s good to see choice and competition comes to the high-resolution monitors that so many Mac users have wanted for so long.

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The CES 2023 Pre-Game Show: Computer Displays and TVs

Source: CES.

Source: CES.

I love the spectacle of CES. It’s a relentless firehose of ‘new’ that’s full of over-the-top ideas, vaporware, creepy robots, bizarre gadgets, and, best of all, legit previews of tech that’s just around the corner.

CES 2023 hasn’t disappointed, even though it doesn’t officially start until tomorrow. The show has a little bit of everything this year. As in recent years, though, there are a couple of categories that stand out already. The first category, which I’ll cover today, is displays, both computer monitors and TVs, which have become a pillar of CES. So much so that the confetti and champagne bottles of New Year’s Eve were barely cleaned up before the press releases began arriving. CES may not start until January 5th, but the days leading up to it have become a sort of pre-game show for the main event.

The other big story beginning to emerge from CES 2023 is devices compatible with the Matter smart-home standard. Matter 1.0 debuted last fall with a lot of promise but a small collection of new devices and updates to existing gadgets. Whether manufacturers can deliver more devices this year remains to be seen, but judging from what’s been introduced at CES so far, 2023 is shaping up to be an exciting year for the smart home.

Of course, there are many other interesting stories coming out of CES too. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so I’ll be splitting our coverage up, starting with desktop displays and TVs. We’ll have more on smart home devices, other gadgets, and what I affectionately call ‘weird CES’ soon.

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CES Rundown: Highlights of This Year’s Most Intriguing (and Bizarre) Announcements

My coverage of CES has always been virtual. This year the show itself is virtual too, which left me wondering whether there would be much to cover. Although there are fewer vendors participating than in the past, the event continues to provide a steady stream of news about new products planned for the coming months.

Some of what is announced each year will never see the light of day, and other gadgets will never look as good as they did in the hands of expert marketers. Still, CES always provides a useful snapshot of tech industry hardware trends, a handful of unexpected gems, like last year’s Eve Cam that I reviewed over the summer and Samsung’s T7 external SSD, which ended up powering my Big Sur beta testing, plus a healthy dose of the truly strange.

After pouring over hundreds of headlines and press releases, I’ve compiled a roundup of some of this week’s most intriguing announcements. Feel free to skip around to the categories that you find most interesting using the table of contents below.

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Apple Shows Off New Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR Coming in the Fall

During the keynote presentation at WWDC today, Apple previewed the long-awaited Mac Pro alongside a new 32-inch pro display. Both hardware announcements are aimed at professionals in fields like video compositing, 3D rendering, photography, and audio engineering.

Mac Pro

The Mac Pro is designed with performance and customization in mind. The computer’s design echoes the classic ‘cheese grater’ Mac’s shape, vent system, and handles. The frame of the Mac Pro is built from stainless steel, and the casing is aluminum. With a twist of a latch on the top of the computer, users can lift the case off using the two stainless steel handles to access internal components from all sides and install expansion cards.

The case also incorporates a lattice pattern to maximize airflow through the case. According to Apple, the three-dimensional interlocking hemisphere pattern simultaneously assists with airflow by maximizing surface area and makes the case rigid but lightweight. Optional wheels can be added to the case to make it easier to transport in a workspace.

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Apple Reveals its Mac Pro, Display Plans and More

I recall staring at the then-new Mac Pro at WWDC, which was displayed in a clear tube, not unlike the original iPhone. The design was unlike anything on the market then or since. That was 2013. The Mac Pro shipped just before Christmas 2013, but it hasn’t been updated since.

As the years wore on, pro users fell out of love with the Mac Pro. It was less upgradeable than other pro PC systems, and its internals quickly began to show their age. Disillusionment with the Mac Pro evolved into open speculation about whether Apple cared about the pro user market anymore.

Apple answered that question today. A new modular, more upgradeable Mac Pro is in the works. As John Gruber describes it on Daring Fireball Apple is working on:

a “completely rethought” Mac Pro, with a modular design that can accommodate high-end CPUs and big honking hot-running GPUs, and which should make it easier for Apple to update with new components on a regular basis.

To go along with the new Mac Pro, Apple is developing a new pro-level display. Unfortunately, the new Mac Pros and display won’t ship in 2017, and no firm launch date has been announced. In the meantime, Apple has bumped the speeds of existing Mac Pros:

The $2999 model goes from 4 Xeon CPU cores to 6, and from dual AMD G300 GPUs to dual G500 GPUs. The $3999 model goes from 6 CPU cores to 8, and from dual D500 GPUs to dual D800 GPUs.

In addition to the Mac Pro, Apple told Daring Fireball and a group of four other writers that it has a new iMac that will ship this year that is designed with pro users in mind.

So what went wrong? Why hasn’t the Mac Pro seen an update for so long? Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi told Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch and the other writers in the room:

I think it’s fair to say, part of why we’re talking today, is that the Mac Pro — the current vintage that we introduced — we wanted to do something bold and different,” says Federighi. “In retrospect, it didn’t well suit some of the people we were trying to reach. It’s good for some; it’s an amazingly quiet machine, it’s a beautiful machine. But it does not address the full range of customers we wanna reach with Mac Pro.

Apple’s discussion with five writers covered a lot of ground. In addition to the new Macs discussed, Federighi said Apple is committed to the Mac mini and that scripting and automation on macOS remain ‘super important’ to Apple. It was also revealed that notebooks make up 80% of the Mac market and the pro market makes up roughly 30% of the Mac user base.

With the increasing drumbeat of discontent from pro Mac users over the past months, it is refreshing to see Apple address the pro market head-on and explain what happened with the Mac Pro. It’s disappointing that new Mac Pros are still many months off, but the breadth and depth of Apple’s candor with the writers it spoke to should provide comfort to pro users who can hold off on buying new hardware for a while longer. The key now will be whether Apple can execute its plans for the pro market.