back to article Thunder struck: Apple kills off display line

Apple has ended production of its line of Thunderbolt monitors. The Cupertino idiot tax racket says that it will no longer be making the display available after its current stock is sold out in Apple stores and online. Apple debuted the Thunderbolt display in 2011, pushing the screen as a reason for users to adopt its new …

  1. Adair Silver badge


    who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither. - B. Franklin.

    (or words very close to that effect)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Those...

      Then neither is possible long-term, for both liberty (anarchy) and securiy (police state) are two ends of a spectrum, each with its own gravity and an impossibly-thin middle in between. In other words, civilization will be drawn toward either extreme, try as they might, simply because of the human condition.

    2. Chris Evans

      Re: Those...

      The full quote is better: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Those...

        But that begs a very pointed question. What if Liberty gets in the way of Safety? What if the only way to assure any modicum of safety at all is to give up that essential liberty? What if that which we cherish so much is also the thing that will destroy not just us but civilization as we know it? It's easy enough to cry, "Give me liberty or give me death," but what if that "death" also applies to everyone you know?

        1. David Dawson

          Re: Those...

          That's actually the point.

          Another quote in the same area.

          " The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas jefferson.

          The thrust of the argument is that liberty is not free, maintaining it is in fact dangerous and expensive. The benefits of liberty though are great, a good enough that the sacrifices called for are worth it.

          So yes, absolute safety will be denied you if you want a modicum of liberty.

          The question is if you want liberty or not, and are willing to make that trade.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Those...

            " The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas jefferson.

            But that cost keeps rising. Especially when the tyrants have started bringing axes, chainsaws, and even nukes to the tree. Raising the tree is getting harder and harder while cutting it is getting easier, such that we're starting to see diminishing returns. If it takes more and more blood to grow the tree while it takes fewer and fewer to damage it, eventually it starts to not be worth the effort anymore. That's where the challenge to Franklin's quote hits. What if it's not just "a little temporary safety" you're trying to safeguard? What if it's the very idea of safety itself in a world where utter ruin could be crafted by a talented few (or even ONE MAN), anywhere, anytime? Imagine the entire world living everyday under the Sword of Damocles, and the hair is already frayed. NOW how does that liberty-safety spectrum look?

    3. raving angry loony

      Re: Those...

      A: the actual quote is: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”

      B: the CONTEXT is important, because it's about a tax dispute, and the term "purchase" in there is key. "Essential Liberty" means the ability of a government to tax within its jurisdiction. "purchase a little temporary safety" was about the Penn family, absentee owners of the Pennsylvania colony, instructing their governor to veto any ability for the local government to tax their property to pay for military spending.

      So it's a letter by a government legislator to the governor appointed by a bunch of absentee landlords who keep trying to escape paying taxes, telling them that if they don't want to be taxed to pay for war meant to protect their security, that they shouldn't expect to be defended by that government. Oh, and that they can't just purchase their way out with their offered single lump sum payment, which is what they'd offered.

      As noted by Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the editor of Lawfare:

      "It is a quotation that defends the authority of a legislature to govern in the interests of collective security. It means, in context, not quite the opposite of what it's almost always quoted as saying but much closer to the opposite than to the thing that people think it means."

      A more extensive, in-depth analysis can be found here:

      Might be an idea to see who used it first to mean the almost opposite of what it was meant to be, use them as the "new" author? You know, the one who took a quote at of context and turned it into another famous quote that meant the opposite of what it was originally meant to do by the original author?

    4. Bob Vistakin

      "Cupertino idiot tax racket"

      How do you upvote an entire article?

      1. zen1

        Re: "Cupertino idiot tax racket"

        Yeah, that one caught my eye, too. Stunning analogy!

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. djstardust

    Apple displays

    Were way overpriced and not very good. I paid £600 for a cinema display and it died completely after 14 months. Apple told me to piss off as it was out with the 12 month warranty so I ended up binning it.

    Never again.

    1. Fink-Nottle

      Re: Apple displays

      > Apple told me to piss off as it was out with the 12 month warranty

      Wouldn't happen here with EU consumer protection laws ... oh, wait.

      1. Colin Miller

        Re: Apple displays

        Actually, The Sale of Goods Act (1968) predates the EU by a long chalk.

        1. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: Apple displays

          Too damned right. Working as an expat in Europe I was horrified to find that the retailers' commitments ended with stamping the warranty card. No liability at all, it was between you and the manufacturer.

          If the manufacturer didn't have a local service centre for bulky items, you were truly fucked.

          The EU tried very hard to foist this system on us, but those few countries who already had superior rights in place (like us) refused to countenance this. We still got lumbered with two years' warranty liability rather than the open-ended "fit for purpose"[1] provisions of the Sale of Goods Act which often, in court, became more than two years.

          The problem is, as usual, with the fact that EU legislation has to be rigidly framed for Code Napoleon rather than allowing the picky detail to be thrashed out by the judiciary as Common Law allows.

          [1] e.g. If you sell a phone on a two year contract, then to be fit for that purpose it must last at least two years.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Apple displays


            The EU directive set out harmonised *minimum* rights for consumers across all member states including cross border sales. So you could now buy a TV from Italy if you lived in France without having issues of warranty problems. Your contract is with the seller and there is no requirement for a local service centre or to pay expensive shipping fees.

            In the UK you have a provision for up to 6 years for a defective product but that is on top (but concurrent to) of your EU minimum 2 year right - this includes second hand goods bought from a trader.

            There was no foistering of watered down rules.

        2. hardboiledphil

          Re: Apple displays

          2002 Cinema Display still in use daily here on the home linux box. Viewing angle is still way better than anything I've used since (mostly cheaper PC monitors admittedly)

        3. davycrocket

          Re: Apple displays

          Awww, stop it, people just don't like being corrected lol

  4. User McUser

    Good riddance...

    I hate those things least of all for the fact that they use a combined data and power cable that is NOT user replaceable.

  5. benderama

    I had an office where instead of a cinema display you just had a second iMac added connected via thunderbolt. It came in handy for using as a headless server, if you will, and worked perfectly well as just an additional display to a primary iMac.

  6. Sgt_Oddball

    I've yet to see a mac monitor I'd be interested in parting money with.

    The colour gamut can be matched (or bettered) by others the refresh rates were usually poor and lacking things like replaceable cables is just rubbing it in.

    As with firewire before it. It's a solution ahead of time for a small niche market that eventually finds that everything else has caught up (or the edge cases aren't often or profitable enough to bother with)

  7. Sandtitz Silver badge

    "Among the failures to come out of Cupertino were the ill-fated FireWire"

    Ill-fated, yes. But a failure?

    Firewire was hardly a failure even if it is pretty much dead now. For a decade or so it was the only practical way of transfering digital audio or video where all the other external buses were really slow or just complicated - SCSI comes to mind...

    FW connected DV cameras worked really well in my PC (not Apple), and after the analog-era video grab cards and tools it just worked like never before. You could command the DV CAM with your video editing software, rewind, select the specific video frame where to start grabbing and so on. Connecting computers via FW gave you a 400Mbps network when gigabit ethernet was really expensive and only found on servers. FW enabled external 3,5" drives without external power brick.

    FW was expensive (license fees), and was really used in specialized equipment like pro audio/video stuff. USB was "good enough" and every computer still had to have USB ports for mice, keyboards, printers, scanners, thumb drives etc., so the writing was on the wall when USB 2.0 materialized.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Or more to the point when USB 3 came along. Firewire was a lot faster in real life than USB 2 even if the nominal speed of USB 2 was higher.

    2. stizzleswick

      I'm with Sanditz, there.

      Also, as opposed to the opinion of the article here, FW was not an Apple-goes-alone, but a collaboration between Apple, Sony (who call it iLink... go figure) and Intel. Thunderbolt is another Intel idea which was adopted early by Apple, just as USB was initiated by IBM, Microsoft, DEC, Intel and a few others, and though 1997 IBM PCs had a USB interface on the mainboard, Apple were the first to include external USB connectivity, to my best knowledge.

      IEEE 1498 (aka iLink, aka FireWire) still is the definitive interface in most professional video and audio settings, though slowly being displaced by 10GBit Ethernet.

      That said, I always found Apple's displays rather pricey for what they offer, so I'm not really touched either way by them being discontinued. Never had one.

      1. Z80

        Re: I'm with Sanditz, there.

        IEEE 1394

        1. stizzleswick

          Re: I'm with Sanditz, there.

          Oops! Sorry... (that's what I get for hacking my comment in on-the-go)

      2. Vic

        Re: I'm with Sanditz, there.

        Sony (who call it iLink... go figure)

        It was worse than that.

        I was a Sony employee at the time. Word came down from On High that it was to be called i.Link (including the dot) and nothing else - we were not permitted to let on to the world at large that it was 1394.

        I had to write a rebuttal to a ZDNet article years ago that claimed i.Link was a new audio codec - they seemed to have become confused about i.Link and ATRAC. I had to word it very carefully - emphasising that it was a network, not a codec, but without mentioning FireWire anywhere in my piece :-)


  8. chivo243 Silver badge

    Another Apple rots

    Once again, a proprietary Apple device fails to set the market on fire. Once again, Apple pulls the plug.

    1. M7S

      Re: Another Apple rots

      "Apple pulls the plug"

      Surely another reason to use magsafe ;)

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Another Apple rots

        Hmm. ISTR that the market is about the only thing that magsafe plugs didn't set on fire...

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Another Apple rots

      and how is that different from just about every other company?

      Come on now, don't be bashful. Please tell us.

      Peraps MS should kill the Surface Pro because it sells so few when compared to other devices on the market.

      Besides these were never aimed at the mainstream in the first place. Not everything has to sell millions to be successful. We may never know how many of these Apple has sold.

      As an aside, I use a 27in/4K Dell Monitor with my MBP. Got the colour gamut calibrated without issue.

  9. Somone Unimportant

    ADB was ill-fated?

    Just because it wasn't used by any other vendor than Apple does not mean it was ill fated.

    It had a very good life - from the //gs in 1986 until the last of the pre-Imac systems 12 years later, at a time when PC compatible devices still required their own connectors (the old Canon keyboard connector) or blue and green PS/2 connectors.

    Devices (ok, mice and keyboards - and the damn Quark XPress copy protection dongle) could be daisy chaned and it was a doddle to have a left or right handed mouse because the Apple keyboards had left and right located ADB connectors.

    It did the job, and it did it well.

    Firewire was, IMHO, way ahead of its time, a pre-USB interface that absolutely screamed along in comparison to others. It too did the job well.

    ...though thinking about it, "doomed to never be used by other vendors to any real extent" does sound a bit like "ill-fated".

  10. Dieter Haussmann

    Firewire was a huge success, it was on just about every Pro and Consumer DV camera for a decade and was the only way of downloading footage apart from buying a DV VCR. Eventually, it was suceeded by SD cards and faster USB 2.0/3.0.

    1. hardboiledphil

      And presumably that was because encoding meant that file size was massively reduced. I remember editing minidv footage on my old Powerbook and the file size was huge as it recorded the whole of each and every frame in full detail.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        FireWire was still used on camcorders which recorded in AVCHD, which was a compressed format but of good quality. In fact the decoding of AVCHD carries a processing overhead, so Macs would convert it to the larger-file sized (but less CPU intensive) Apple Intermediary Codec as footage was transferred from the camcorder.

        FireWire was never a failure. It was used for years and years, but only by people who needed to use it. This Shaun Nichols person seems to have gone full Anna Leech.

  11. Androgynous Cow Herd

    This is not the "Death of Thunderbolt"

    It's the end of a product that worked ok for what it was- a nice way to dock a MacBook - but Thunderbolt as a high speed transport for Ethernet and system Bus works really well. In a multimedia studio, that port can feed multiple 10G connections, capture devices and other specialized expansion cards in a breakout box, and drive a high resolution display. It's a really versatile interface.

    Usb3 is no comparison in functionality, FireWire is pretty usable for some stuff still. I think that Thunderbolt II still some legs in the pro audio and video industries.

  12. edward wright


    Thunderbolt display had USB 2, not USB 3. It was never updated to my knowledge.

    1. Rainer

      Re: USB3?


  13. MD Rackham

    ADB a Failure?

    Here I am typing on a wonderful Mac II ADB-interface mechanical-switch keyboard connected to a current round Mac Pro. Works just fine, thank you, and is the best keyboard this side of a Selectric.

    I have a stack of 5 more of them in the closet just in case, but I can't kill this keyboard no matter how hard I pound on the thing.

    Yes, I use an ADB-to-USB converter, but still...

    1. cd

      Re: ADB a Failure?

      Those ALPS switches are good stuff. Reminds me that I have new ALPS keyboard with trackpad but ADB plug; might have to dig up/make an adaptor myself.

  14. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Real issue is the interconnect:

    Apple's iMacs have had 5K displays for a couple of years now, but there is no way for most current Macs to drive an external 5K display.

  15. rh587

    The Cupertino idiot tax racket says...

    ...but they rarely respond to our requests for comment.

    Funny that!

  16. razorfishsl

    firewire was not Apple it was intel & TI

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like