More on Apple's new Mini DisplayPort (updated)

More on Apple's new Mini DisplayPort (updated)

Summary: One of the announcements coming out of Cupertino is that their MacBooks now ship with a new video out port called the Mini DisplayPort (complete with funny capitalization and lack of space between the words). It means that you'll have to remember to bring a US$30 dongle/adapter with you everywhere you go.


Confirmed: MacBook drops Firewire port

One of the announcements coming out of Cupertino is that their MacBooks now ship with a new video out port called the Mini DisplayPort (complete with funny capitalization and lack of space between the words). It means that you'll have to remember to bring a US$30 dongle/adapter with you everywhere you go.

Part of the next-generation DisplayPort industry standard, the new Mini DisplayPort can drive up to a 30-inch widescreen display and is designed to complement HDMI. The Mini DisplayPort is just 10 percent the size of a full DVI connector.

From Wikipedia:

DisplayPort is a digital display interface standard (approved May 2006, current version 1.1 approved on April 2, 2007) put forth by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA). It defines a new license-free, royalty-free, digital audio/video interconnect, intended to be used primarily between a computer and its display monitor, or a computer and a home-theater system.

DisplayPort has an advantage over HDMI in that it is royalty free which makes it cheaper to implement (the HDMI royalty is 4 cents per device). DisplayPort's largest supporter is Dell which has released two computer monitors that support DisplayPort and HDMI.

Adapters are available from Apple for using the MacBook's Mini DisplayPort with older generation VGA ($29), DVI/HDMI ($29) and Dual-Link DVI displays.

Update: Ann R. Thryft wrote a detailed comparison of DisplayPort and HDMI for Electronics Design News (EDN) last month.

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Topics: Apple, CXO, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

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  • DisplayPort is fine...

    but include the VGA port too so we don't have to carry around an extra cord....duh. It doesn't take up much space and EVERY windows laptop has a VGA port.
    • ALL New "Mini DisplayPort"

      The switch to Mini DisplayPort has Apple Tradition written all over it. It's the best emerging technology tweaked for Apple's purposes.

      By making the guts compatible with the industry standards for components, Apple can buy standard components and make them work excellently.

      By making the consumer end incompatible, Apple avoids having to support (or even live with) all the cheap garbage that ends up making the PC experience feel horrible for all those who are unaware of where the cutoff between good and horrible is.

      Apple draws a line in the sand this way, when it concerns the most important parts of the system, in this case the display. If you want to get an adapter to hook up to something not blessed by Apple, you will at least know that you are doing so.

      If you want a system that will hook to almost anything, regardless of poor quality, then Apple may not be the vendor for you.

      As far as DisplayPort, I love it. The thought of FireWire like Daisy Chaining of external displays and audio systems all connecting to a computer through a single port makes me smile ear to ear. Even if there aren't any products that do that yet.

    • But that is because

      The machines that are made by non apple are ment to be used in a real work area. Not just look so so
    • RE: More on Apple's new Mini DisplayPort

      @notlehs VGA cables are too big! Mini DisplayPort is heaps smaller then VGA and HDMI and the cables are cheaper. I bought a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter from and it was half the price of a HDMI cable, and much smaller then a VGA cables so I can take it anywhere!
  • 30"!

    It's nice that it finally works with 30" even on MacBook (non-Pro).

    I just don't like all those Mini things that require you to get extra adapter.
  • RE: More on Apple's new Mini DisplayPort

    I wonder when Dell is going to include this in their laptops ?
  • What the hell does 30" have to do with it?

    And who exactly would consider a 30" monitor "home theatre"? Seriously?

    I would expect it to be able to do at least 1920x1080p at br quality bitrate regardless of how many diagonal inches my choice of monitor stretches that pixel grid over. So how does the physical size of the monitor matter?

    For God's sake include at least a reasonable amount of information about this if you're going to put up an article about it. Just how much smaller/cheaper is a Mini DisplayPort jack than a regular DisplayPort jack? What's the difference in resolution/and bitrate?
    Johnny Vegas
    • 2560x1600 via DisplayPort, vs. 1920x1200 via DVI

      There are a lot of variables when it comes to the "maximum resolution" an interface can support.

      An EXAMPLE comparison is that you can get 2560x1600 via DisplayPort vs. 1920x1200 via DVI over about the same length of a single cable. It's possible to get higher resolutions with a single DVI cable at shorter lengths, but your refresh rate goes down. You can also get much higher resolutions with dual link DVI, like 2560x1600.

      DisplayPort has the advantage that it supports at least 2560x1600 at a reasonable refresh rate over a single cable. A single DisplayPort connector can actually be adapted to drive a dual link DVI display.
  • What about analog video (NTSC/PAL)?

    Apple's previous DVI, Mini-DVI, and Micro-DVI (on the original MacBook Air) connectors all supported adapters to output NTSC/PAL analog video. It looks like DisplayPort doesn't support this.

    At least it does have the advantage of now supporting audio as well as video, which the DVI connectors didn't have. As a result, it should be possible to have a proper Mini DisplayPort to HDMI cable that carries both audio and video, rather than just video like DVI to HDMI cables do.
    • analog video (NTSC/PAL)?

      Its a step back if Apple don`t support analog video
      (NTSC/PAL) any more.

      It?s unprofessional.

      We use this Signal every day !

      Steve please check the Product before they release it !

      , (
  • $99 for dual-link DVI

    $99 for a DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter!
    What is up with apple charging $29 for basic adapters that are necessary until who knows when. They came free with my late 2007 MacBook Pro. Why not include the VGA and Single Link DVI adapters for free with every notebook.
    • It's called a "price increase"

      This is an attempt by Apple to increase prices without looking like they are.

      For a company interested in the overall experience for the end-user as much as Apple says it is, this is disappointing behavior.

      Don't they get that *exactly* their demographic cares about this kind of thing and it bugs/frosts us to pay extra for a necessary doodad!?
      • A "necessary doodad"?

        Don't *you* get that probably 90% of users out in the real world never attach a second display to their computers?

        The burden was actually on THOSE people for the added cost of Apple including display adapters with their previous laptops that they were never going to use. They've simply shifted the burden of the cost from 90% of their customers to 10%.

        (I consider myself to be in that 10%, BTW, so it does suck for me personally, but I happen to be able to see the reasoning clearly.)
  • some "mini-DisplayPort" (that's how I write it) details on my blog

    I just blogged about it (see ) and decided to call it mini-DisplayPort. Apple itself doesn't seem sure whether there is a space between Display and Port--it has web pages that show it both ways. The DisplayPort people ( leave the space out, and if it's good enough for them it's good enough for me. (btw, I also write "MacMini" instead of Mac mini. Maybe I'm a maverick like McCain.)

    What I'm wondering is if mini-DisplayPort will be an Apple-only thing like mini-DVI and micro-DVI were, or if it will have wider industry support.
  • DisplayPort has some huge advantages for laptops

    There are a lot of pretty compelling reasons to use
    DisplayPort - especially in laptops. <br/><br/>
    There is a <a
    part series of articles</a> that cover the advantages of
    cost, performance & design, and future capabilities.
    1 Display Port avoids the $10k/year license fee of HDMI
    2 Display Port direct-drive technology eliminates the cost
    for additional circuitry in computer displays
    3 Display Port uses direct-drive technology, enabling
    ultra-thin displays and a setting a common standard for
    laptop and stand-alone displays
    4 Display Port can drive 30-bit (billions) of colors at high-
    resolutions and high refresh rates
    5 Display Port uses smaller, latching connectors and can
    handle longer cables
    6 Display Port is compatible with 45 nm chips that
    everyone wants to build (DVI and HDMI draw too much
    7 Display Port enables things like webcams, touch-
    screens, and USB all over the same cable - so multi-touch
    can be built into the screen directly.
    8 Display Port can handle multiple video and data channels
    over the same wire - so think things like picture in picture
    • Very disconcerting....

      This is very troubling, considering that I just bought my Macbook in December of 2007, and went and bought both the VGA and DVI dongles for the MiniDVI. I had seen the Mini DisplayPort on the new Macbook screenshots but actually thought it was just the same port. This discussion has me very disappointed with Apple, as it has stopped me from considering whether or not to buy one for my wife.

      I will be looking for one like mine, a Santa Rosa platform Macbook, for her, because this is ridiculous. The technology I have is perfectly good, and although you make good points (8) in your contribution, the point is that I then have to buy new technology. It makes no sense to go through the process of buying something of this nature if it has no longevity.

      It is, simply put, RIDICULOUS...and this comes from an almost certified Apple Fanboy/Macophile!!!
      Carlo A. Mason
  • Pointless Apple-proprietary connector

    If Apple had used the same DisplayPort connector that everyone else uses, it would have still been 5x smaller than a DVI connector. It would have had all the same great features they have now.

    But they wouldn't have been able to charge $30 for each adapter you'll ever need. Not only did they increase the cost by custom-building their own connector, but they found yet another way to tie customers to their expensive, and otherwise pointless, adapters.

    Well, at least their stock is up.
  • This I get but what about the 30" statement

    The article states:

    "the new Mini DisplayPort can drive up to a 30-
    inch widescreen display"

    That's so nonsensical I can't begin to figure out where that limitation would come from and have to assume it's just a completely false statement.

    Would Apple have actually pointlessly crippled this "mimi" DisplayPort somehow for some reason?

    And I have to agree with jkgm. This seems like it's done purely to enable Apple to separate more money from the iTards in the form of the $29 and $99 dvi/vga dongles. What is the benefit of this form factor over standard DisplayPort which could have been incorporated from the looks of it without changing the chasis profile in any way?
    Johnny Vegas
  • RE: More on Apple's new Mini DisplayPort

    nice to see I'll need another adapter for my classic macbook
    for their new displays. I noticed that they're still selling mine
    for 999. Don't see a mention on how you're supposed to jack
    it into the new monitors - because - uh oh - it's Mini-DVI
    not "Mini DisplayPort". IE: There's no adapter mentioned
    anywhere on the site for "Mini-DVI to Mini DisplayPort".
    • You can't go "Mini-DVI to Mini DisplayPort"

      DVI can't be converted to run a DisplayPort monitor. It's like asking for an adapter to use VGA to drive a DVI monitor.

      DisplayPort is backwards compatible with DVI (and HDMI), like DVI-I is backwards compatible with VGA (since it carries analog signals on some of the pins). You just can't go the other way, though.