According to a report by trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will launch its first 6K display for the Mac Pro this year. This report is consistent with Apple's own statement of plans this year, but adds a little cramped meat to the story.
If you are a creative professional, you should be very excited about Apple's upcoming Mac plans in 2019. This year, Apple is planning its new Mac Pro, along with its new 6K screen. See our latest episode of Back to Mac when we consider what we know and some of the opportunities associated with the new screen.
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What We Know About Apple 6K Display  Among many other details from its latest report, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlined some important information about the upcoming Apple screen. Remember that Kuo's reporting is based on supply chain intel, so while he is often right than not, none of this is written in stone.
First and foremost, Kuo confirms that Apple is working on a new internal display that is still on schedule for 2019, so we know it will come in the stores over the next 10 months.
Before Kuo reported, Apple last referred to the display market in December 2017 via a line at the bottom of its iMac Pro press release:
In addition to the new iMac Pro, Apple is working on a completely redesigned, next-generation Mac Pro architect for pro customers who need the highest performance, high throughput system in a modular, upgradeable design, and a new high-end pro display .
Now, Kuo shares probable specifications and they definitely qualify as specifications for a pro display.
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The other big piece of information indicates the size of the screen. Kuo is very specific in panel size reporting, noting that it is 31.6 inches, which is diagonal measurement on the screen itself.
In addition to the size, Kuo also notes that the screen will feature "outstanding image quality", which is due to a mini LED-like background design.
Kuo concludes his discussion on Apple's upcoming professional screen by noting that it will have a 6K resolution. More specifically, Kuo notes that there will be a 6K3K display, which is roughly in the ~ 6000 pixels horizontal ballpark and ~ 3000 pixels vertically.
Further analysis of Apple 6K Monitor
Now that the foundation is laid for Apple's professional 6K monitor, we can begin filling some of the gaps.
First and foremost, I want to discuss screen resolution, which is undoubtedly the most important thing we have a rough knowledge of so far. Kuo notes that Apple's upcoming display will have a 6K resolution, which means it will be the highest resolution screen Apple has ever sent. It also means that it will be one of the highest resolution consumer displays on the market when it arrives.
When looking at the potential resolution of a 6K3K display, a particular resolution comes immediately to the mind – 6400 × 3600. I can't say that this figure will definitely be the original resolution of Apple's 6K display, but number makes sense for some reasons:
- There is a 16 × 9 aspect ratio
- The "modest" bump in resolution matches the modest impact of physical screen size
- Apple already uses a scaled 3200 × 1800 resolution for 5K iMac – a pixel-doubled retina iteration of 6400 × 3600
3200 x 1800 exists as a scaled resolution on the iMac Pro
What a possible 6400 × 3600 Apple Display means to users
6K may not work as sexy as 8K, but a 6400 × 3600 screen is still a big increase in resolution over the current 5K displays found in Apple's iMac and LG UltraFine 5K screen.
An Apple 6K display with a resolution of 6400 × 3600 would have 23,040,000 pixels against only 14,745,600 pixels found in 5K monitors with a 5120 × 2880 resolution. It suggests a 44% increase in usable resolution – a great benefit for creative professionals.
But numbers are just numbers, and examples of real examples really help to show how useful such a resolution bump can be. Below are comparisons of current popular screen resolutions versus the likely Apple 6K screen. The blue area is the 6400 × 3600 Apple 6K resolution.
Here is the prominent Apple 6K screen versus a native 1080p display:
Apple's 6K display would have enough resolution to fit nine different instances of 1080p full-resolution video inside with space left over:
How does an Apple 6K display stack up to a 4K UHD display? Here's a look:
As you can see, you can easily fit a UHD resolution area into the 6K Apple display area with plenty of room to save.
The 5K screen in Apple's iMac and iMac Pro is currently the most pixel-tight screen Apple does. Here's how Apple's upcoming 6K3K screen looks like:
Real Benefits of 6K
A great example of using extra real estate is when editing 4K video in Final Cut Pro X. So it seems to edit 4K video zoomed in to 100% on the 5K iMac Pro set with the default resolution:
While You Can Fit 4K Video In full resolution within the standard resolution area (2560 × 1440 pixel doubled) and still manages to interface with the browser and timeline, it is extremely cramped. Having the extra resolution offered by a 6K monitor would go a long way towards improving the editing environment.
Note the significant room difference when comparing the 5K workspace above the 6K workspace below. Editing 4K video zoomed in to 100% is a much better experience because it allows the browser, timeline and inspector to fit. While it is possible to use scaled resolutions on the iMac Pro right now to achieve a similar work space, everything is very small when done and causes me a lot of eye strain.
How to view Final Cut Pro X with a 100% UHD video on Apple's 6K screen
A noticeably larger screen
31.6 inches to 27 inches may not look like much on paper, but in reality there is a big difference. Apple's 6K display will be significantly larger than the 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt screen, which the company quit back in June 2016.
For example, the 5-iMac and iMac Pro sports have 27-inch display panels, but both machines have large parts and a large bottom hook. In fact, the entire front surface of the 27-inch 5K iMac is less than 31.6-inch diagonal. This means that the display panel alone for Apple's upcoming 6K display will be larger than the 5K iMac screen, including its mount.
The size display shows larger pixels, resulting in a screen that packs in extra resolution, but will not cause unnecessary eyebrows because the screen shares are so small. Essentially, the screen size has been scaled up to compensate for increased resolution.
With the size and proposed original resolution in mind, the PPI for such a panel would be considered slightly higher than Apple's 5K iMac – 226 vs 218 PPI.  Improved Viewing Technology
Apple has long been at the forefront of consumer display technology. It launched one of the first 5K monitors with the 5K iMac, and before it released its pixelated "Retina" screen across its iPhone, iPad and Mac lineup. Apple has also adopted features like True Tone, which dynamically change the white point of a display based on ambient lighting, and ProMotion, the dynamic display update technology found in the iPad Pro.
Ming-Chi Kuo's report does not become specific when discussing the display technology used by Apple's 6K display, but it does notice that it will have "outstanding image quality". One of the reasons for this is thanks to the use of a Mini LED-like backlight.
Main areas of the backlight can be turned on and off as opposed to today's Mac screens where the entire backlight panel lights steadily. If you turn off a backlight in a region, you get an effect like true black OLED, resulting in improved contrast ratio. A mini LED-like background design would be more precise, thinner and more energy efficient.
I / O?
One of the great things about Apple's expired Thunderbolt display was the amount of I / O present on the back of the panel. The product Apple recommended as a Thunderbolt Display option, the LG UltraFine 5K Display, was a little underwhelming in comparison.
LG UltraFine was a bit lacking I / O-wise
With the Apple 6K display aimed at the professional market, I hope the I / O will reflect it. However, it is difficult to say for sure what I / O Apple will include given the enormous amount of bandwidth already used by the monitor itself.
Our own Michael Steeber spotted what the back panel might look like on Apple's 6K display, but of course, such bandwidth requirements may be out of dependence on how Apple goes everything.
There is still a lot to learn about Apple's 6K display, but we now have a slightly better picture of what we should expect to see before the end of 2019. We know the likely size, resolution, and we know it will contain a display panel that is significantly better than what we have today.
Still, things like I / O, price, compatibility and overall performance are still unknown at the moment. And what about Face ID? Will this technology be included in the Apple 6K screen?
Stay up-to-date because 2019 is just in progress, and rumors are already starting to warm up.
What are your thoughts on Apple's 6K display? Mute in the comments with your observations and opinions, and be sure to subscribe to 9to5Mac on YouTube for future episodes of Back to Mac.
Special thanks to 9to5Macs Benjamin Mayo to contribute to this report.