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Exclusive: Apple testing new external display with a dedicated A13 chip and Neural Engine

Exclusive: Apple testing new external display with a dedicated A13 chip and Neural Engine

Categories: Technology
Posted: July 27, 2021

Apple’s Pro Display XDR has been available for quite some time now, but there are still no rumors about an updated version of its high-priced display in the near term. However, 9to5Mac has now learned from sources familiar with the matter that Apple is internally testing a new external display with a dedicated A13 chip and also Neural Engine.

The new display is being developed under the codename J327, but at this point, details about technical specifications are unclear. According to sources, this display will have an Apple-made SoC, which right now is the A13 Bionic chip — the same one used in the iPhone 11 lineup.

Along with the A13 chip, the external display features the Neural Engine, which accelerates machine learning tasks. Although rumors suggest that Apple has been working on a less expensive display for regular users, the new external display with a dedicated SoC will likely be a new model to replace the current Pro Display XDR in the future.

Back in 2016, right after Apple’s Thunderbolt Display was discontinued, rumors suggested that Apple was working on a replacement with a high-resolution display and a built-in GPU. While the company has indeed launched its own premium external display in 2019, Pro Display XDR does not come with a GPU as rumors predicted.

Today’s report from 9to5Mac’s sources suggests that Apple has not given up on its plans to launch an external display with some sort of SoC, at least internally. Having a CPU/GPU built into the external display could help Macs deliver high-resolution graphics without using all the resources of the computer’s internal chip.

Apple could also combine the power of the display SoC with the Mac’s SoC to provide even more performance for running intensive graphic tasks. Another possibility is to use this SoC to add some smart features to the Pro Display XDR, such as AirPlay.

Keep in mind that Apple’s plans may change, just as the first Pro Display XDR never had all the features it was rumored to have. Apple’s launch plans for this new external display are also unknown.

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