This monitor was announced a few weeks ago while we were on vacation, and we thought we’d write a belated news piece for those who might have missed it, and to get all the key information in to one place for those interested. The screen is 32″ in size and aimed very firmly at high end professional users, with a focus on HDR performance, colour accuracy and premium image quality. The price for the screen, and certainly the approach to the stand for it have attracted a lot of attention since it was announced! Apple market it as “the World’s best pro display” which will “transform the professional workflow”.
Specs and Features
The Apple Pro Display XDR is their first 32″ “retina” 6K resolution display and a whopping 218 pixels per inch definition. It has a 6016 x 3384 resolution IPS technology panel and a 16:9 aspect ratio. It has the usual wide 178/178 viewing angles of this panel technology. Being a professional display is has a 60Hz refresh rate only.
It gives about 40% more screen real estate than a 5K display even and super levels of detail and image clarity. There is a 4-side borderless design with only a 9mm edge on each side.
The aluminum enclosure is just an inch thick and features an innovative lattice pattern that reduces weight and increases airflow. We know some people have likened this new design (including the new Mac Pro) to a cheese grater too, it’s certainly unique. It sounds like the screen will not need any active cooling fan, so if this new design has helped avoid that then we are all for it. “The lattice pattern machined into the aluminum has many advantages. It more than doubles the surface area exposed to air, facilitating additional airflow and acting as a heat sink. This allows for fast and quiet cooling, enabling Pro Display XDR to sustain an extreme level of brightness indefinitely. Inlet and exhaust vents work through this pattern to draw in cool air and eject hot air away from the system, limiting the potential for hot air to be re-ingested.”
There are a range of “reference modes” (presets) for different uses, with preset gamma, colour space and white point. A dual ambient light sensor (one on the front and one on the back of the screen) gives more control over the screens brightness based on your working conditions as well.
“State-of-the-art calibration and a sophisticated algorithm ensure that you get the highest-quality color possible.” Each screen carries an in-depth factory calibration. Each of the display’s 576 LEDs (talked about in a moment) is also individually calibrated and has its light profile stored.
Connectivity wise there is 1xThunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port and 3x USB-C ports
Not just HDR, but XDR
Not one for sticking to existing terms and marketing, Apple have come up with the new “XDR” name for this display. They say on their website that “with breakthrough backlighting technology, Pro Display XDR takes brightness, contrast, and color to a new level. Far beyond HDR, it’s Extreme Dynamic Range (XDR). Pro Display XDR produces an industry-leading 1000 nits of full-screen sustained brightness and 1600 nits at its peak.“
The screen offers a 500 cd/m2 typical SDR brightness spec, along with a peak brightness of up to 1600 cd/m2 for HDR. This is combined with a 1 million:1 HDR contrast ratio according to the spec pages. True 10-bit colour depth and 1.07b colours are supported along with a “P3” gamut as they call it (for the rest of us that’s DCI-P3).
“Pro Display XDR is able to dramatically reduce blooming using advanced LED technology, light shaping, and intelligent image processing.” This is achieved thanks to a 576-zone blue LED FALD backlight. “Twelve controllers rapidly modulate each LED so that areas of the screen can be incredibly bright while other areas are incredibly dark. For even greater control of light, each LED is treated with a reflective layer, a highly customized lens, and a geometrically optimized reflector that are all unique to Pro Display XDR. Through a pioneering design, light is reflected, mixed, and shaped between two layers to minimize blooming and provide uniform lighting. Converting blue light to white is a difficult process that requires extremely precise color conversion. It’s why most display makers use white LEDs. Pro Display XDR accomplishes this conversion with an expertly designed color transformation sheet made of hundreds of layers that control the light spectrum passing through them. To ensure that LEDs along the sides of the display mix well with adjacent ones, a micro-lens array boosts light along the edges. This creates uniform color and brightness across the entire screen. With a massive amount of processing power, the timing controller (TCON) chip utilizes an algorithm specifically created to analyze and reproduce images. It controls LEDs at over 10 times the refresh rate of the LCD itself, reducing latency and blooming. It’s capable of multiple refresh rates for amazingly smooth playback. Managing both the LED array and LCD pixels, the TCON precisely directs light and color to bring your work to life with stunning accuracy.”
There are two different versions of the screen available, one with standard glass coating and another with a more expensive ‘nano-texture glass’ coating (additional $1000 USD retail price).
According to the Apple website: “Every Pro Display XDR screen is engineered for extremely low reflectivity. And if you’re in an especially uncontrolled lighting environment, there’s an innovative matte option with nano-texture glass. Typical matte displays have a coating added to their surface that scatters light. However, these coatings lower contrast while producing unwanted haze and sparkle. The nano-texture on Pro Display XDR is actually etched into the glass at the nanometer level. The result is a screen with beautiful image quality that maintains contrast while scattering light to reduce glare to the barest minimum.”
The Pro Stand
This is one area that has received a lot of complaints and we can understand why. Even though the screen carries a very high price tag, it doesn’t include the stand! Honestly, who buys a display and doesn’t want a stand for it? The Apple ‘Pro Stand’ will retail for an additional $999 USD. It does at least offer a minimalist, sleek and attractive design, along with tilt, height (120mm), swivel and rotation adjustments.
“The magnetic connector on the Pro Stand makes it easy to attach and detach from its polar-opposite magnet on the back of Pro Display XDR. These magnets guide the connection while latches automatically engage and securely lock the stand to the display. Detaching it is as simple as unlocking the slider.” If you would rather, a VESA mounting bracket is also available to buy separately.
The Apple Pro Display XDR is listed on Apple’s website at a price of $4999 for the standard glass version, or $5999 for the nano-texture glass version. The Pro Stand is an additional $999 USD, and the VESA mounting bracket is $199. It is “coming this fall” apparently.