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Thunderbolt display sets a new standard for monitors

Here at Digitaledge we don't try to tell you about every new monitor that's released - we wouldn't have time to tell you about anything else. But Apple only releases a new standalone monitor every few years, and when their latest model comes powered by a brand-new connection system, we think it qualifies as news.

The system in question is, of course, Thunderbolt. Formerly known as Light Peak, this new wire standard - developed by Intel and expected to spread from Macs to PCs next year - has the potential to provide crazy-fast connections between computers and peripherals. Excitingly, it's designed to cover everything from disk drives and portable devices to displays, meaning the bevy of VGA/DisplayPort/HDMI/USB ports on your computer could all be replaced by Thunderbolt ports in a few years' time.

And this new Thunderbolt Display is Apple's attempt to show the world how good a Thunderbolt-powered monitor can be. A giant 27 inches huge, it boasts an eye-watering 2560x1440 pixels, meaning it's more than high-res enough to show true HD video with plenty of space to spare. As CNET points out, 'when coupled with an external mouse and keyboard, the display will instantly turn any Thunderbolt-enabled laptop (or the new Mac Mini and iMac) into a complete workstation.'

What's more, the ThunderDisplay (as we're lovingly nicknaming it) comes with some classic Apple-style ease-of-use innovation when it comes to what an additional monitor to a laptop actually does. On a Windows laptop, plugging in an additional monitor usually copies your screen to that screen - if you want to use the extra monitor as your main screen, and use it at its full resolution, you need to fiddle with some settings. Not so here. Plug in the ThunderDisplay and it'll mirror your laptop screen in the usual way. But if you want it to take over as your main screen, and operate at the highest resolution, all you have to do is just close your laptop's screen. Simples!

We're pretty smitten with the ThunderDisplay, but this being Apple, all this great design comes at a price: around £900, probably, when it's released soon. That's a lot for a monitor, even a beautiful one.

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