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Apple Pro Display XDR is Apple's insane new 6K monitor, starts at $5,000

The 6K resolution HDR monitor, designed to go with the new Mac Pro computer, is the first for the company since 2016.

The Apple Pro Display XDR costs $4,999 and will be available this fall.

This story is part of WWDC 2022, CNET's complete coverage from and about Apple's annual developers conference.

Apple is back in the computer monitor business. Today at WWDC 2019 the company announced a new monitor targeted toward pro users -- the same folks who might want to buy the powerful new Mac Pro computer.

Called the Pro Display XDR, it starts at $5,000, a fitting companion for the $6,000 starting price of the Mac Pro. And yes, there's an optional stand for another grand. All three will be available in fall 2019.

Apple likened the new display to professional reference monitors in the $40,000 price range, with brightness so "extreme" it had to replace the "H" with an "X" in the product name. Here are the top-level specs.

  • 31.6 inches diagonal
  • 6K resolution (6,016 x 3,384)
  • HDR capability
  • 1,000 nits brightness (1,600 nits peak)
  • 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio
  • 576 zones of full-array local dimming
  • P3 color gamut with 10-bit capability
  • Low reflectivity with matte screen finish option
  • Thunderbolt connectivity

The monitor's chief feature is high-dynamic range, aka HDR. Doing HDR correctly requires a lot of horsepower to illuminate the screen, and the XDR monitor can get exceedingly bright -- and stay that way. Apple says an advanced cooling system can maintain its 1,000 nits brightness "indefinitely." 

The monitor has a full-array backlight with 576 zones of full array local dimming -- more than just about any similarly equipped TV available. That advanced dimming tech likely contributes to the incredibly high 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio specification. 

At 32 inches and a resolution of 6,016 x 3,384, the Pro Display XDR is Apple's largest retina display ever. While not used in many TVs (which are either 4K or 8K), the 6K resolution is increasingly popular for video capture, with cameras like the Pansonic Lumix S1H, Sony Venice, and models from Red doing 6K.

Apple has also improved the screen to better control reflections and offers a new matte option called "nano-texture, with glass etched at the nanometer level for low reflectivity and less glare." The matte option brings the price of the monitor up to $6,000. Apple also talks up its polarizer technology and wide off-axis viewing angle. Pre-set reference modes include HDR video (P3-ST 2084), Digital Cinema (P3-DCI) and Photography (P3-D65).

Apple WWDC 2019

The optional $1,000 stand for the Pro Display XDR monitor.

James Martin/CNET

The optional Pro stand allows users to better articulate the screen and place it in various positions -- a boon for people who have complained about Apple's fixed stands in the past. It allows has tilt, height, and rotation adjustment, meaning you can rotate it from landscape to portrait mode, juts like your iPhone.

Now playing: Watch this: Apple unveils all-new Mac Pro

Apple's trademark wide bezels have been narrowed substantially, putting more screen into a smaller frame, and the monitor's aluminum lattice housing (aka cheese grater) matches that of the Mac Pro. 

Read more: Meet the new Mac Pro

The Pro Display XDR is the first standalone Apple-branded monitor since the company's Thunderbolt Display, which debuted in 2011 and was finally retired in 2016. Apple has been selling the iMac -- which combines a computer and a monitor -- for two decades, but in recent years the only dedicated monitors in its stores were made by other companies like LG.

See all of today's Apple news.

Lori Grunin contributed to this report.