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Thunderbolt Display shipping delay in Europe sparks hopes of Apple refresh once again

Shipping times for Apple's Thunderbolt Display have slipped across Europe, once again conjuring up hopes that a new model with 5K Retina display could be in the works.

European shoppers at the Apple online store now have an 8-day wait for new Thunderbolt Display orders to arrive in many countries. The delay was first publicized by

In contrast, new Thunderbolt Display purchases elsewhere in the world, including the U.S. and Canada, remain widely available, with overnight delivery and in-store pickup.

Apple last updated its in-house external display product in 2011. In the years since, inventory of the Thunderbolt Display has dwindled on multiple occasions.

Inventory reduction and associated extended shipping times are frequently a sign that Apple is preparing to launch a new model. But as evidenced by past stock-outs of the Thunderbolt Display, this latest shipping delay may not amount to much.

Apple already sells a 27-inch Retina display panel as part of its larger iMac with 5K-resolution screen, packing in 14.7 million pixels. In contrast, the standard-resolution Thunderbolt Display has a resolution of 2,560 by 1,440, or about 3.7 million pixels.

A Retina Thunderbolt Display would be of particular interest to users of Apple's cylindrical Mac Pro. Apple itself has been selling alternative displays, like the 4K IGZO Sharp LED monitor, for those customers.

For the best alternatives to Apple's outdated Thunderbolt Display, see AppleInsider's comprehensive roundup.