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Intel announces 2014 Thunderbolt update with 4K support; opens door for Retina iMacs?

Retina iMac mockup via MacSpoilers

Retina iMac mockup via MacSpoilers

Today, Intel announced a new version of its Thunderbolt technology that will ship with devices in 2014. The new Thunderbolt technology supports up to 20Gbps throughput, which is up from the 10 Gbps supported by the current version of Thunderbolt.

Notably, the new technology supports 4K resolutions, which could open the door for even higher-resolution Mac displays. Perhaps, this is the technology that Apple needs to work with in order to begin a Retina display rollout for its all-in-one desktop computer, the iMac, or even Mac Pro compatible Thunderbolt displays.


Intel says the technology, which currently goes under the codename Falcon Ridge, will ship next year alongside Intel's next-generation core processors.

Earlier this year, at CES, we profiled a 32-inch Sharp 4K display that we deemed as unreal.

To be honest, the gallery, taken with Canon's new 6G DSLR, doesn't do it justice. Please, Apple: Here is your next iMac Retina and Thunderbolt display. These displays aren't just beautiful. The IGZO technology also uses a fraction of the power required for today's LCDs. While most of the power used is still in the LED backlighting, the IGZO pixels save a great deal of power —as much as 90 percent vs. traditional displays— and can still stay on even after the machine has powered down, something great for photoframe-type functionality.

One of the technical reasons for Apple to not release an iMac with a Retina display yet is that the current Thunderbolt processors available could not support the bandwidth needed to push so many pixels. Given Apple's typical 2x Retina mode scaling, a Retina 27-inch iMac would need to power a resolution of 5120 x 2880 (2 times 2560 x 1440). The new Thunderbolt technology coming in 2014 would essentially double the current tech's capabilities, making a Retina iMac more plausible.

5th Generation iPad to Begin Production in July-August

DigiTimes claims that Apple will begin volume production of the 5th generation iPad in July-August 2013. The timeline reportedly comes from sources in Taiwan-based supply chain makers.

macrumors-ipad5aMockup of 5th Generation iPad next to an iPad mini

A July-August ramp up of production runs counter to many of the earlier rumors that had suggested the iPad launch as early as April.

While Apple's traditional timeframe for iPad launches has been in the first few months of the year, last year saw two iPad launches -- one in March, and one in November. The late 2012 release of the 4th Generation iPad may have altered that usual timetable.

The new iPad is believed to be "thinner and lighter" than the currently shipping full-sized iPad. The 5th Generation iPad is also believed to take on the same thin-bezel design as the iPad mini. The above mockup is based on leaked iPad 5 enclosures from early this year.