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That is... absurd. No PCs need apply, huh? Or 2013 Mac Pros? Or any computer except the very small list of Thunderbolt 3-equipped Macs running the very latest version of Catalina?
Apple is pointing to whatever runs well and completely in the supported set. They aren't trying to include "happens to work" or "works with these quirks" in the mix. This is a super-expensive display. It isn't meant for "everybody". If you're paying this much money to be a reference monitor, then it should be a "no quirks" reference monitor. Apple is putting this up again reference monitors that have SDI links on the back. How many generic PCs in BestBuy hook up to those? None. They are only trying to sell this to a few people.

There are a couple of things needed to run the XDR at full capacity.

1. A modern GPU that outputs DisplayPort v1.4 (even a pair of v1.2 ports can't drive this at full 10-bit color).​
2. The latest Thunderbolt controller that can pass through DisplayPort v1.4 (need to get ~38Gb/s onto the Thunderbolt network – previous controllers can't).​

#2 is what knocks out the iMac Pro (even though meets #1). The vast majority of PCs are on trailing-edge Thunderbolt controllers (because it is cheaper).

The latest BlackMagic eGPUs work because they do use the latest Thunderbolt controller and can pump their modern GPU's DisplayPort output 'downstream' from the eGPU. (Most other eGPUs are actually just enclosures and don't capture the output streams to route anywhere.)

Pro Display XDR is like the previous Apple Display docking stations in that there are no buttons. So if you don't have [software] controls, then Apple's not going to put it on the "supported" list. (It will 'happen to work" with some PCs.)...
Was Apple afraid they'd sell too many Pro Displays?
Not afraid of that at all. The online store is listing a Feb. 4 - Feb. 10 timeframe for the display, while the Mac Pro arrival times are creeping closer to the present day. Pro Display XDR sales aren't retracting, and Mac Pro sales are. Sales aren't a problem at the moment. (Long-term., it may turn into an issue, but for the next quarter or so it probably won't be.)

I think Apple is winning in the context where they're up against $9-30K alternatives. When they plow mostly through the part of that group that is in the market for a new monitor, then things may shake out. But if they have taken over 20-30% of that mix, they are probably going to be quite happy. (It isn't like they are selling these at a loss.)
 


... along with Apple 27-inch Thunderbolt 2 monitor ...
Perhaps I'm misunderstanding something but... was there ever such a beast? It's news to me and Mactracker doesn't seem to know it either. (I've been happily using an Apple Thunderbolt Display since about '12 or '13.)
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Perhaps I'm misunderstanding something but... was there ever such a beast? It's news to me and Mactracker doesn't seem to know it either. (I've been happily using an Apple Thunderbolt Display since about '12 or '13.)
There's apparently just one Thunderbolt Display (27"):
which is 10Gbps Thunderbolt rather than 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 (but they share connectors and compatibility).
 



A simple Thunderbolt Display fix:

Some research shows that lots of Apple Thunderbolt Displays have an internal Thunderbolt cable problem. Mine started with no camera and no working ports on the back of the display. In time, flickering started, and finally no wake from sleep without turning power off and on.

After watching a couple of disassembly videos, I decided to have a new 2-meter Apple certified cable (#MD861LL/A, $39.00) on hand. The videos also revealed that the static cling inside the unit makes it impossible to reassemble without visible particles on the inside of the screen.

Getting ready to open it up, I noticed that there was a Thunderbolt port next to the USB ports on the back of the monitor. I plugged the new cable into that port and the other end into the adaptor I had been using to a Mac Mini. It worked like new. The camera is active, as well as the USB ports.
 


A simple Thunderbolt Display fix:
...Getting ready to open it up, I noticed that there was a Thunderbolt port next to the USB ports on the back of the monitor. I plugged the new cable into that port and the other end into the adaptor I had been using to a Mac Mini. It worked like new. The camera is active, as well as the USB ports.
Our group has two Thunderbolt displays that have expired with similar symptoms to your description. I can't wait to try your method. In retrospect, it's painfully obvious!
 


Earlier this month I ordered a 2019 MacBook Pro 16", very well spec'd. It arrived 5 days ago. Once configured, I plugged it into my external LG 5K display. All seemed well at first, but then as I used it and installed more software, it frequently (not always) changed the Brightness slider in the Display preference pane to 100%! My eyeballs were shocked :) This would happen with either the built-in display, the external LG 5K, or both at the same time.

It did not happen without the external LG plugged in.

I then simplified my environment to ensure that the Mac was connected only to the LG via its supplied Thunderbolt 3 cable. Issue persists.

As I'm a photographer, setting a fairly precise value for brightness is important. Yes, I do have a professional colour accurate monitor, too - and it isn't affected by the issue above - but 100% brightness on your supporting displays in a dark room would annoy anyone!

So, as a bit of a control, I upgraded my MacBook Pro 15" to the same version of Catalina that is installed on the new 16". Again, using just the LG, it was almost rock solid, no changes to display settings after multiple reboots, wake from sleep, power ons, etc.

However, it did exhibit one new issue: when starting it up without an external monitor and then plugging one in, the Brightness shot up to 100% as I watched. So, this is a new behaviour, seemingly related to the Brightness issue on the newer MacBook Pro 16", but with far less impact.

Kind of makes me think that there is an interplay between Catalina and specific Mac hardware - it's not one or the other. My 15" under Mojave with the LG was rock solid.

Apple support had me create a new boot volume, install a fresh Catalina, create an account but not configure anything else. So a clean, clean clean install, and the same problem occurred with the computer setting brightness to 100% most of the time on restart. I've seen other anecdotal reports online of this happening to other Catalina users, not just with 16" MacBook Pros.

Yes, I went through resetting SMC, PRAM and Safe Boot.

Has anyone here experienced this? Or, heard of a solution? Tomorrow, I'm returning my new MacBook, as I'm within the 14-day new product return window. I'll wait for a solution with the money back in my bank account :) Very unfortunate.
 


Earlier this month I ordered a 2019 MacBook Pro 16", very well spec'd. It arrived 5 days ago. Once configured, I plugged it into my external LG 5K display. All seemed well at first, but then as I used it and installed more software, it frequently (not always) changed the Brightness slider in the Display preference pane to 100%!
Interesting. Definitely sounds like some kind of interaction between the LG display and macOS.

I wonder if the display has brightness controls that it is trying to sync with the laptop.

I would immediately check LG's web site to see if maybe there's a firmware update for the display.

Although you've probably already tried it, check to see if macOS is configured for automatic brightness control. If it's on, try turning it off. If it's off, maybe try turning it on.
 


Kind of makes me think that there is an interplay between Catalina and specific Mac hardware - it's not one or the other.
I have the same problem with an iMac Retina 5K 27" 2017 and an LG monitor, running Sierra 10.12.6. Apparently it is a known bug in Sierra that was fixed in either High Sierra or Mojave. Perhaps it has made a comeback with Catalina?
 


The maximum brightness issue happened with the built-in monitor on the iMac Pro, and I've been hearing about it in relation to the LG monitor as well, and maybe even the Cinema Display XDR, at least when connected to systems with dubious compatibility. The iMac Pro was eventually fixed, but it's odd the Apple can't seem to sort this one out.
 


I have the same problem with an iMac Retina 5K 27" 2017 and an LG monitor, running Sierra 10.12.6. Apparently it is a known bug in Sierra that was fixed in either High Sierra or Mojave. Perhaps it has made a comeback with Catalina?
Interesting. Definitely sounds like some kind of interaction between the LG display and macOS. I wonder if the display has brightness controls that it is trying to sync with the laptop. I would immediately check LG's web site to see if maybe there's a firmware update for the display.
I have an LG 5K display that was the display designed by LG and Apple's collaborative effort. I wondered about updating the display firmware as a general check. It turns out that there is an LG app (for macOS, not the phone) in the Apple App Store. It took care of updating the display firmware.
 


Earlier this month I ordered a 2019 MacBook Pro 16", very well spec'd. It arrived 5 days ago. Once configured, I plugged it into my external LG 5K display. All seemed well at first, but then as I used it and installed more software, it frequently (not always) changed the Brightness slider in the Display preference pane to 100%! My eyeballs were shocked :) This would happen with either the built-in display, the external LG 5K, or both at the same time.
It did not happen without the external LG plugged in....
I think this is an ongoing issue with either macOS or the MacBook Pro. My 2018 MacBook Pro 15" regularly dims and changes the display settings unpredictably in macOS 10.15.2. It usually darkens to the point that is goes black. A PRAM, NVRAM or SMC reset, and even a complete macOS reinstall will not fix the issue permanently. Luckily, the issue only comes up about every two to three weeks, and a restart normally stabilizes the display settings. When the screen goes completely black, then a forced restart is required. It's a real pain.
 


I think this is an ongoing issue with either macOS or the MacBook Pro. My 2018 MacBook Pro 15" regularly dims and changes the display settings unpredictably in macOS 10.15.2. It usually darkens to the point that is goes black.
Have you tried disabling automatic brightness control? Also, does your webcam work (try Photo Booth)?

I ask because that feature uses (I think) your webcam for sensing the ambient light levels. If the camera has problems, it might be telling macOS that the room is completely dark, directing the automatic brightness control to dim the display to minimum levels.

Either way, it seems like a hardware repair will be necessary. If you're covered by Apple Care, take it in for warranty service. If not, you may want to take it in anyway to find out how much a repair will cost.
 


Interesting. Definitely sounds like some kind of interaction between the LG display and macOS.
I wonder if the display has brightness controls that it is trying to sync with the laptop.
I would immediately check LG's web site to see if maybe there's a firmware update for the display.
Although you've probably already tried it, check to see if macOS is configured for automatic brightness control. If it's on, try turning it off. If it's off, maybe try turning it on.
Thanks, David. Good suggestions!

Before I posted here, I had disabled auto brightness and checked for monitor firmware updates. Webcam worked fine (it fired up when setting up Apple Pay!)

Apple Level 2 support had me create a new volume on my drive and install a fresh Catalina 10.5.2. Problem persisted. And of course this didn't prove or disprove whether it's a hardware issue or a Catalina issue unfortunately!

My guess is that it's a Catalina-related bug that behaves differently depending on what model of Mac you're running or if there are more individualized differentiators on a user by user basis. There are a number of reports on the internet, and the rep at the Apple Store I spoke with yesterday said the Genius Bar was aware of the issue.

On my 2016 MacBook Pro 15", the problem showed itself on occasion. And never on Mojave, just Catalina.

On the 16" MacBook Pro, which I bought to replace the older one, the problem showed up far, far more frequently - and of course I can't downgrade that machine.
 


The maximum brightness issue happened with the built-in monitor on the iMac Pro, and I've been hearing about it in relation to the LG monitor as well, and maybe even the Cinema Display XDR, at least when connected to systems with dubious compatibility. The iMac Pro was eventually fixed, but it's odd the Apple can't seem to sort this one out.
It is odd. This bit me when I was setting up a brand new 16" MacBook Pro last week.

The problem occurs not only on the new 16", but also on my 3-year-old 2016 MacBook Pro, only after I upgraded it to Catalina to see if the problem would occur on the old setup, too. It did. Just not as bad.

It seems odd that Apple would release Catalina with such an issue evident - after all, this was a design partnership with LG.

I mean, really. You just had to hook up the monitor - no other 3d-party peripherals - and boot or shutdown the thing 4 or 5 times. It was that simple. At least document it.

But, because I don't know how widespread this issue really is (only Apple would know, based on support tickets, it's not fair for me to assume it's a universal problem....
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
More Mac display sleep nightmares are described by Howard Oakley:
Eclectic Light Co. said:
Preventing external displays from sleep can be crucial
An external display can be a good way of adding more USB-C ports to a Mac, but a strange bug can cause a lot of trouble with this otherwise excellent solution.

As I wrote back in November last year, letting an external display sleep can precipitate a kernel panic or other problem when the display goes to sleep, or the Mac tries to wake it up.

Maxwell @mxswd has this week pointed out another more serious problem with external display sleep: if you use that external display as a USB-C hub, when the display goes to sleep, USB hub power is disabled, shutting down and forcibly ejecting all peripherals connected to that display.
#applequality #sleep
 


One problem I’ve had with some external displays is allowing the display to search/auto-switch between inputs (e.g. VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort).

When using a dock with either MacBook Pro (2011 or 2015), it seems to practically cause a lockup, presumably due to the display searching. If I lock the display to a single input that I am using (HDMI in this case), I have no issues, and the Mac wakes up from sleep without issue.

This was, in particular a problem with an OWC Thunderbolt 2 dock.
 


One problem I’ve had with some external displays is allowing the display to search/auto-switch between inputs (e.g. VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort).
Sounds similar to a problem I've seen with some cheap KVM switches. The cheap switches would completely disconnect a computer from the display when switched away. This would cause system software to think the monitor was unplugged, causing the desktop to rearrange (e.g. change from a 2-screen to a 1-screen layout), leaving a mess of all your windows when switching back.

The better switches would make a point of broadcasting the display's DDC data to all ports, whether or not selected. This way, the non-selected computers believe the display is always there, maintaining a stable desktop layout.

I wonder if these monitors are doing the same thing - only broadcasting DDC data on the active port instead of on all of them. That would definitely cause problems, although it still shouldn't cause the OS to crash or hang - that definitely sounds like a software bug somewhere in the OS.

I suppose it would make sense to do some more advanced kind of disconnect on a Thunderbolt dock, so the host won't waste the bandwidth on DisplayPort data for an image nobody will see, but then you're back to figuring out how to do this without the OS trying to reconfigure the desktop as if the screen was actually disconnected.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
PC Magazine just reviewed Apple's pricy Pro Display XDR, even though it's designed very specifically for Mac systems. (They're also reviewing the Asus ProArt PA32UCX, which isn't so narrowly targeted.)
PCMag said:
Apple Pro Display XDR Review

Pros

  • Exceptional color accuracy.
  • DisplayHDR 1600 looks incredible.
  • High contrast ratio.
  • Sturdy build.
  • Beautiful design.
  • Functionality with Windows in Boot Camp, or with specialized broadcast-workflow hardware.
Cons
  • Super-expensive stand.
  • No input alternatives to USB-C.
  • Matte-panel version costs $1,000 more.
The Bottom Line
Apple's Pro Display XDR provides exceptional color accuracy and build quality at a price that's quite competitive with those of reference-grade pro monitors. It's exquisite enough that swallowing the wildly extravagant cost of its Pro Stand is worth it.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
PC Magazine just reviewed Apple's pricy Pro Display XDR, even though it's designed very specifically for Mac systems. (They're also reviewing the Asus ProArt PA32UCX, which isn't so narrowly targeted.)
And here's an informative YouTube review of the Pro Display XDR from Quinn Nelson:
Snazzy Labs said:
The Ultimate ProDisplay XDR Review!
Apple announced the #6K #ProDisplayXDR alongside the new cheese-grater Mac Pro at WWDC 2019 in San Jose, California. After six months of waiting, it finally hit the market in December of 2019. Rather than rush and put a messy review up as soon as we could, we have spent the last 40 days with it putting it through its paces and seeing if it can really compete against the Sony, Eizo, vs Flanders Scientific monitors of the world. We break down the 6K resolution, connectivity issues, GPU limitations, the $1,000 monitor stand's strengths and weaknesses, the display panel's viewing angles, color accuracy, luminance, light rolloff, vignetting issues, HDR capabilities and alleged 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio.
 


Vincent Teoh just posted an in depth review of the ProDisplay XDR on his YouTube channel, HDTVtest. He compared it at length with the Sony BVM-HX310 reference monitor, the reference montor overwhelmingly used by professionals to grade their videos. You may remember that Apple claimed in their presentation that their ProDisplay XDR was every bit as good as the Sony for professional grading; Vincent clearly explains how Apple is delusional. He does not recommend the monitor.

I am hoping to see Vincent review the Asus ProArt PA32UCX. It not only has fully twice as many local dimming LED compared to the Apple montor, it also works with pretty much any video source (not just computers) and costs thousands less (though it's not cheap).
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Vincent Teoh just posted an in depth review of the ProDisplay XDR on his YouTube channel, HDTVtest. He compared it at length with the Sony BVM-HX310 reference monitor, the reference montor overwhelmingly used by professionals to grade their videos. You may remember that Apple claimed in their presentation that their ProDisplay XDR was every bit as good as the Sony for professional grading; Vincent clearly explains how Apple is delusional....
Here's some detailed information about the Sony BVM-HX310 monitor:

And here's Sony's page for it:

The dual-layer (LMCL) panel technology that Sony uses and Apple doesn't:
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Many months after announcing and then finally delivering its high-priced Pro Display XDR, Apple has now gotten around to publishing some more details about the display, which apparently uses normal-sized LEDs, not "mini" or "micro" LEDs, though there are other innovations.
Apple said:
Pro_Display_White_Paper_Feb_2020.pdf
... In contrast to more common edge-lit LED technology that diffuses light evenly across the display at the same brightness level, Pro Display XDR uses a locally dimmed backlight comprised of 576 individually controlled LEDs.

... The maximum brightness of Pro Display XDR is dependent on the displayed image. The display can support 1000 nits for any image and can sustain this brightness indefinitely in environments up to 25° C (77° F). It can also support 1600 nits for highlights in up to 39 percent of the screen area, when the rest of that image is black or at brightness up to 500 nits.

... Pro Display XDR introduces several innovations related to light shaping that reduce negative effects such as blooming, while maintaining image fidelity and extreme brightness and contrast:
  1. Blue LEDs are used due to their simple light profile and narrow peak range of spectrum.
  2. Each blue LED contains an internal reflective layer that directs light. A highly customized lens with a gel-like material (referred to as a batwing lens because of its shape) further bends the light from the LED.
  3. An Apple-designed cavity reflector made of plastic film is layered on top of the LED system. It is geometrically optimized to precisely direct light upwards, while reducing light spreading and preserving light uniformity.
  4. To improve uniformity, a reflective film on the rear of the diffuser plate reflects light back into the cavity, resulting in even more uniformity than a typical diffuser plate implementation.
  5. A color transformation sheet with hundreds of layers precisely controls the wavelength spectrum that passes through, converting blue light from the LEDs into white light.
  6. Finally, a light homogenizer uses a micro-lens array to provide color and brightness uniformity around the edges of the backlighting system.
... macOS Catalina plays a key role in the playback and display of HDR media on Pro Display XDR. When displaying HDR content in Pro Display XDR (P3-1600 nits) or HDR Video (P3-ST 2084) reference modes, the display-referred PQ transfer function is used to accurately communicate luminance. Content that exceeds the brightness capabilities of the active reference mode will be either clipped or tone mapped by the media frameworks built into the operating system. For example, in the HDR Video (P3-ST 2084) reference mode, any content that exceeds 1000 nits brightness is clipped by media frameworks built into macOS. With Pro Display XDR (P3-1600 nits) and other modes, tone mapping is automatically applied. ... Some third-party apps use their own internal color management or tone mapping systems rather than those provided by macOS. These apps may need to be updated to take advantage of Pro Display XDR features.

... Pro Display XDR requires a GPU capable of supporting DisplayPort 1.4 with Display Stream Compression (DSC) and Forward Error Correction (FEC), or
a GPU supporting DisplayPort 1.4 with HBR3 link rate and Thunderbolt Titan Ridge for native 6K resolution.

... You can connect Pro Display XDR to a Windows or Linux PC equipped with a GPU that supports DisplayPort over Thunderbolt or DisplayPort Alt-mode over USB-C. The host will use Pro Display XDR VESA Extended Display Information Data (EDID) to discover the display capabilities and choose from the available resolution and display mode options. For compatibility purposes, some reference modes will offer a BT.2020 capability to the host, but the color space of the display will be limited to P3.

... With an SDI convertor box such as Teranex Mini SDI to DisplayPort 8K HDR by Blackmagic Design, Pro Display XDR can be hooked up directly to a camera or other SDI source without a computer. The SDI convertor box can also change reference modes, provide scopes and overlays, and apply a LUT (lookup table).

... One upstream port for Mac Pro or other Thunderbolt 3 host (96W host charging)
Three USB-C (USB 2) ports for charging or syncing
For more in-depth information, see Vincent Teoh's review of the ProDisplay XDR (thanks to tvBilly for the link above).
 


Many months after announcing and then finally delivering its high-priced Pro Display XDR, Apple has now gotten around to publishing some more details about the display, which apparently uses normal-sized LEDs, not "mini" or "micro" LEDs, though there are other innovations.
The technology they describe is similar to that in HDR (high dynamic range) televisions with 4K or 8K resolution, but the monitor has an intermediate 6K resolution used for computer monitors. Modulating brightness of individual LED backlights gives a broader dynamic range of colors. Most, if not all, HDR televisions are significantly larger, so their individual pixels are larger than on the 32-inch 6K monitor.
 



If yours is also headless, I can recommend something like this to speed up the remote display:
It fools the Mini into thinking a display is attached, and kicks in the GPU. With the CPU no longer doing all the heavy lifting, Screen-Sharing is much more responsive. There are others that attach via Thunderbolt, but I like this one that uses the HDMI port, which I would otherwise have no use for.
I'll second that recommendation. The same thing holds true for older, pre-HDMI Mac Minis, all the way back to the earliest models. You can find inexpensive headless display emulators (a.k.a. "ghost" or "dummy" display emulators) for Mini DisplayPort and even DVI models easily on Amazon and elsewhere. If you're running a headless Mini, they can make an enormous difference in remote access performance.
 


Many months after announcing and then finally delivering its high-priced Pro Display XDR, Apple has now gotten around to publishing some more details about the display, which apparently uses normal-sized LEDs, not "mini" or "micro" LEDs, though there are other innovations.
Pro_Display_White_Paper_Feb_2020.pdf
... One upstream port for Mac Pro or other Thunderbolt 3 host (96W host charging)
Three USB-C (USB 2) ports for charging or syncing
For more in-depth information, see Vincent Teoh's review of the ProDisplay XDR ...
A bit from the [Mac Pro] white paper reveals this:
Mac_Pro_White_Paper_Feb_2020.pdf
The Radeon Pro W5700X can drive up to three Pro Display XDR displays, three 5K displays, or six 4K displays. When used with Pro Display XDR, DSC is enabled, allowing the downstream USB-C ports in the display to provide USB 3.0 (5Gb/s) bandwidth.
So those downstream ports on the monitor can support faster than USB2 speeds, if the graphics card supports it.

And, as usual with consumer cards, sometimes they support more features than the top-end cards (things like hardware decode blocks are often in low-end cards but not in high-end cards, I assume because they figure a top-dollar card isn't going to go into a slow dual-core machine).
 


Just saw this rumor. Apple is working on six different products with mini-LED displays:
MacRumors said:
Apple Working on Six Mini-LED Products Including New 14.1-Inch MacBook Pro and Refreshed iMac Pro
Apple has six mini-LED products in the works that are set to debut in 2020 and 2021, and production is not expected to be delayed by the coronavirus, according to a new note to investors sent out this morning by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Apple is developing a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, a 27-inch iMac Pro, a 14.1-inch MacBook Pro, a 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌, a 10.2.-inch iPad, and a 7.9-inch ‌iPad‌ mini. Kuo does not provide specific launch dates for the items with the exception of the ‌iMac Pro‌, which he says will launch in the fourth quarter of 2020, and the 7.9-inch ‌iPad‌ mini, which he says will launch in 2020.
 


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