Apple's 27" Thunderbolt Display is an almost iMac, $999

Apple's Thunderbolt Display, when docked with your Thunderbolt-enabled Macbook Air, is practically a semi-portable iMac alternative.

To complement the new Thunderbolt-enabled Mac mini and Macbook Air, Apple is also introducing "the world’s first display with Thunderbolt I/O technology," the Apple Thunderbolt Display.

The Thunderbolt Display is a 27" HD widescreen at 2560 x 1440 resolution, with 16.9 aspect ratio, and an ultra wide 178 degree viewing angle. The FaceTime HD video camera is built-in, as well as 2.1 speakers, a MagSafe charger to juice up Mac laptops that dock with the monitor, three USB 2.0 ports, a Firewire 800 port, an Ethernet port, and of course a Thunderbolt that can "daisy chain" up to five additional Thunderbolt devices.

One of such devices would be the just announced Macbook Air; after all, why cramp in front of an 11" display when you can expand your view to 27" with just a Thunderbolt cable? In fact, Apple is marketing this monitor as "the ultimate docking station for your Mac notebook," though it would be one very expensive laptop dock at $999. Because the Thunderbolt technology is bi-directional, whatever device that is hooked to the monitor can also access its built-in ports and connectors, hence the "docking station" analogy. With all the technologies that are packed into this monitor, when combined with a Macbook Air, they make a semi-portable iMac alternative, as Wired's Gadget Lab suggests.

For the next 60 days, the Thunderbolt Display will be available at Apple stores, authorized resellers and on This display really only makes sense if you're picking up either a new Macbook Air, a Mac mini or some other device with a Thunderbolt port though.

[Source: BusinessWire, Wired's Gadget Lab, on Thunderbolt Display and iMac]