Apple on Thursday told The Loop that it is discontinuing the Thunderbolt Display.
“We’re discontinuing the Apple Thunderbolt Display, said an Apple spokesperson. “It will be available through Apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last. There are a number of great third-party options available for Mac users.”
Judging from the last part of the statement, it doesn’t seem likely that Apple will replace the display in the near future.
Apple doesn’t usually announce the discontinuation of products, so this very public statement is a deliberate move to extinguish any hope of a new display. This is a company that prefers to EOL a product as quietly as possible. Apple didn’t reach out to news sites when they killed off the 17″ MacBook Pro or the iPod classic, but this time it’s different.
The Thunderbolt Display wasn’t exactly cutting edge, as Stephen Hackett points out:
The display never saw a hardware update, even after MagSafe 2 replaced the old charging standard, not to mention when Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.0 started showing up on Macs of all sizes.
Despite this, it’s still a product that enjoys some popularity. Look around any office space that has a heavy Mac user base and you’ll find a Thunderbolt Display attached to most of them. I’ve no doubt that the Thunderbolt Display’s biggest customer type is the IT department. As such, IT departments need to know they have a procurement process and stock availability that can be relied upon. Apple couldn’t just silently axe their display and leave people wondering what was going to happen next–it had to be loud and clear.