Archive for March 8, 2022

Tuesday, March 8, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Studio Display

Apple (MacRumors, Hacker News):

Studio Display, the perfect complement to Mac Studio, also pairs beautifully with any Mac. It features an expansive 27-inch 5K Retina display, a 12MP Ultra Wide camera with Center Stage, and a high-fidelity six-speaker sound system with spatial audio.

[…]

Its built-in stand allows the user to tilt the display up to 30 degrees. To meet the needs of a variety of workspaces, Studio Display also offers a tilt- and height-adjustable stand option with a counterbalancing arm that makes the display feel weightless as it is adjusted. A VESA mount adapter option is also available, and supports landscape or portrait orientation for even more flexibility.

[…]

Studio Display has three USB-C ports that deliver speeds up to 10Gb/s to connect high-speed peripherals, storage, and networking right into the display. A Thunderbolt port enables users to connect Studio Display and any connected peripherals to their Mac with a single cable. The same cable also delivers 96W of power to a Mac notebook, allowing Studio Display to even fast-charge a 14-inch MacBook Pro.

Apple should have made something like this in 2014 or so, but it’s finally here and looks pretty great. This is a lot of money for a display, but the other options are not good. At $1,599 with the tilt-stand or VESA, it’s $300 more than the LG UltraFine 5K, but it adds a (seemingly great) camera and should be much more reliable. It’s only $200 less than the base 27-inch iMac (Intel, seemingly discontinued now). The nano-texture glass is $300 extra and seems like a bad idea (even though I like matte). The height-adjustable stand is $400 extra, but VESA seems better to me. That’s what I ordered.

David Pierce:

Apple just announced a $1600 monitor and I went “whoa, that’s not bad!”

I need to go outside

Luc Vandal:

Just a tad more expensive than an XDR Display stand.

Joe Cieplinski:

Advice for those looking into that new display: See it in the store before assuming you want the matte finish. I find it dulls the colors so badly it’s not worth the glare reduction. Better to invest in improving your office lighting.

Stammy:

If nano-texture on this display is anything like the XDR - don’t get it.

It works soo well for reducing glare but wow it’s so ridiculously delicate. I’m super careful around it and have random scratches

A. Lee Bennett Jr.:

The 27" 5K display in my old iMac is still perfectly fine. Too bad I can’t think of a way to just bypass the old iMac CPU and use just the monitor portion with a Mac Studio CPU.

Mike Byrne:

It’s not TOO bad, but I’d like to see a second model with no camera, speakers, or A13 in it for $1099. I’d buy that in a heartbeat.

David Pierce:

Apple’s new monitor: has an iPhone chip
Apple’s new iPad: has a Mac chip

We’re like this close to the world where all your software works everywhere, and you just buy the size and shape of thing you want. I want to live in that world, and Apple is just teasing me with it

Mr. Macintosh:

Apple Thunderbolt Display (2011) = $1000
Adjusted for inflation = $1249
27"
2560×1440
85W power delivery
3 USB 2
FW800
Gig Ethernet
Thunderbolt port
Cam & Speakers

Apple Studio Display = $1599
27"
5120 × 2880
96w power delivery
3 USB-C
Thunderbolt port
Cam & Speakers

Joey Banks:

An evolution of displays.

Cabel Sasser:

Reminiscing about the most stressful but amazing purchase in Panic early days: a 22" Apple Cinema Display. Hard to remember how amazing the CRT to LCD jump was.

So flat. So sharp. It cost $3999 (!!!).

Previously:

Update (2022-03-09): Sami Fathi:

What’s crucial to note is that the stands are built into the display and, thus, are not interchangeable.

Sami Fathi:

Apple has confirmed to MacRumors that the brand new Studio Display will work when connected to PCs, but critical new features of the display will not carry over and the experience will be lacking compared to using the display with a Mac.

Sami Fathi:

Apple’s brand new standard Studio Display does not come with a polishing cloth included in the box, unlike the Pro Display XDR which offers a cloth in both the standard and nano-textured models.

A. Khalid (Hacker News):

It’s due to this type of conditioning that a $400 metal stand— even though it’s roughly the same price as a new iPad with 128 GB of storage or an Apple Watch Series 7—still seems like a bargain. It’s definitely not.

Mike Rockwell:

Why can’t Apple build more than a single display offering? Why can’t they use the same panel in the 24-inch iMac in an external display? Something that would look great as a secondary monitor next to the 24-inch iMac. Something that folks with smaller desks might find a bit more comfortable to connect their laptop to.

Benjamin Mayo:

Apple Studio Display gets an A13 to drive the speakers and webcam

Apple TV 4K for all the streaming and gaming use cases … A12

It was a little disappointing that they didn’t have a super special feature for the A13 to serve in the Studio Display, like integrated AirPlay or something. As it stands, it’s essentially just an implementation detail of the display, not really worth thinking about twice.

Update (2022-03-16): Michael Potuck:

There are a number of great USB-C/Thunderbolt 4K displays from third parties but the LG UltraFine 5K and 6K Pro Display XDR are ideal to compare to the 5K Studio Display when considering all the specs and features (just for fun, we’ve included the 4K LG UltraFine in the charts below).

Update (2022-03-17): John Gruber (tweet):

One thing that I greatly appreciate but is easy to take for granted is that the Studio Display does not require a power brick. It uses just a power cable with a simple prong at the end — which, like the aforementioned Thunderbolt cable, is black and made from the same nice braided fabric.

[…]

There is no power button. There are no buttons on the Studio Display at all, in fact. It is subtle, but when on, the Studio Display is constantly blowing a small amount of air out the top and bottom.

[…]

In my testing, I sound better speaking into the Studio Display’s microphone array than I do using the microphones in my AirPod Pros.

[…]

Which brings us to the camera, which I find to be crushingly disappointing. Image quality is astonishingly poor, and Center Stage is glitchy.

[…]

I don’t really understand why Apple chose to support Center Stage with the Studio Display, and thus use this ultra-wide angle camera, in the first place.

Joanna Stern:

I wanted to love you Apple Studio Display. I really did.

But your webcam is bad and your display is no better than some more affordable displays.

Nilay Patel (tweet):

Apple is generally terrific when it comes to displays across its devices, and the Studio Display is great at the basics: it’s clear, it’s sharp, it’s bright. If you have ever looked at a 27-inch 5K iMac display, you know exactly what this thing looks like. The Studio display is the same 27-inch size, the same 5120x2880 resolution, the same 218 pixels per inch, the same 60Hz refresh rate, and has the same single-zone LED backlight. The only real spec difference is that Apple says the Studio Display now has a “typical brightness” of 600 nits vs. 500 on the iMac, but in my actual typical use next to a 2015-vintage 27-inch iMac, that’s pretty hard to see.

[…]

For those of you that don’t care about pixel-perfect macOS with no scaling, $1,599 will sound frankly ridiculous, and there are lots of other fascinating displays to think about, including a number of OLEDs, some neat ultrawides, and plenty of displays that support higher refresh rates.

[…]

The bad part is that I have no idea what’s going on with this webcam. Apple has a long history of producing amazing images with 12-megapixel sensors and A-series chips, and for some reason, this thing just looks awful.

Jason Snell:

But if you’re used to seeing this display in an iMac, you’ll be struck by how much less encumbered it looks in the narrow borders of the Studio Display. A relatively narrow 13.75mm black bezel wraps around all four sides of the display; on the iMac the bezel is 27mm.

[…]

And while Apple says that the display’s mounts are not user-serviceable, it’s my understanding that if you take a Studio Display to an authorized Apple dealer and pay a fee, they should be able to swap on a different mounting element.

[…]

It is, without a doubt, the best built-in Mac webcam experience you’ll ever have. […] Unfortunately, Center Stage on the Mac lags behind the iPad version, at least right now. It frequently gets lazy, for lack of a better word, and leaves me off center in the frame. Hopefully this issue can be tweaked in a software update.

[…]

After all that hype, I considered the speakers a letdown. To my ears, at least, they sounded worse than the built-in speakers in my iMac Pro.

Matthew Panzarino:

In our testing, the Studio Display’s camera produces grainy, low-contrast and generally poor images both locally and remotely. The images that we’re seeing are, at this time, worse than the 2021 24” iMac’s camera produces.

I noticed the quality issues as soon as I fired up the webcam for the first time. I checked it with other devices and noticed that it was actually slightly better if it was running from a MacBook Pro running MacOS 12.2, though still not great.

[…]

I do not have a timeline or any specifics on those updates, but Apple is now aware there is an issue with the Studio Display’s camera quality and they said they are working on fixes.

See also: MacRumors.

Jason Snell:

Oh now that I’m no longer under embargo, enjoy this message I got last week!

Update (2022-03-23): John Gruber:

Multiple little birdies familiar with the Studio Display, each birdie independent of the others, tell me that the image quality problems really are a software problem, not hardware — a bug introduced at the last minute — and a future software update might not merely somewhat improve image quality, but raise it to a level commensurate with the iPad models equipped with the same camera (the new Air and last year’s Pros), modulo the differences between the M1 and A13 ISPs.

Ryan Jones:

Apple Studio Display cameragate seems to be triangulating around 3 factors:

70% choosing an Ultra-Wide lens instead of Wide
10% then cropping in
20% last-minute software issues

Hartley Charlton:

The Apple Studio Display runs a full version of iOS 15.4, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber has highlighted.

Hartley Charlton:

Apple’s Studio Display contains 64GB of onboard storage, but only 2GB are actually used by the display, a developer has discovered.

John Gruber:

Effectively there’s a base model 9th-generation iPad in there.

Matt Birchler:

A few reviewers have criticized the product for having old display tech inside and not supporting things like high refresh rates (120Hz+) and HDR. […] Personally, I’d love to get high refresh and full HDR support in a display, but looking at the market, I’m pretty confident that it would be well over the $1,500-2,000 price range we have today and it would suddenly be irrelevant to most of us like the Pro Display XDR.

Guilherme Rambo:

The Studio Display shows a little loading indicator on cold boot. It’s three dots that light up in sequence. Cold boot takes about 3-5s.

[…]

It talks to macOS through the same mechanism that Intel Macs with the T2 chip use to talk to the coprocessor.

Filipe Espósito:

Unlike the Pro Display XDR, Studio Display has a unique power connector that seems to be non-removable. It turns out that the cable is detachable, but you need a special tool to remove it.

Joe Rossignol:

MacRumors is able to provide a first look at the display’s internal design with an image sourced from Apple’s documentation for technicians.

Joe Rossignol:

Apple’s new Studio Display enables the “Hey Siri” voice command on several older Macs that previously did not support the feature.

Update (2022-04-11): Dan Barbera:

With the unveiling of Apple’s new 27-inch 5K Studio Display earlier this month, it immediately drew comparisons to LG’s similar UltraFine 5K display that’s been on the market for a number of years.

Juli Clover:

The inside of the Studio Display may be confusing at first because it has an internal setup that’s not too dissimilar from a computer like the Intel iMac, thanks to the inclusion of an A13 chip, speakers, and fans. Several iFixit staff members were shown an opened up iMac and a Studio Display and asked to determine which was which, and many of them got it wrong.

[…]

The Studio Display is using the exact same display as the 5K iMac , and there’s an internal power supply, which iFixit says is an impressive feat of engineering. The internal power supply makes the Studio Display different from the iMac because it requires massive fans for heat dissipation, plus it requires a ~50 percent thicker chassis.

I don’t understand—the iMac 5K had an internal power supply, too.

James Thomson:

Got my Studio Display this evening, and generally love it - it looks great. But comparing the camera (left) with my iMac Pro (right) under the same lighting, I am pretty disappointed - my face is a lot more washed out.

Hopefully this is something that a software update can fix.

Andrew Beyer:

1. I can no longer sleep my MacBook Pro while it’s connected to the display. I try, and it just instantly wakes up.

2. Today, all USB ports stopped working until I restarted it.

David Enzel:

I bought an Apple Studio Display but could not get it to work properly with my 2021 M1 16 inch MacBook Pro. The screen kept flickering. I tried different cables. I even tried a different MacBook but could not get it to stop flickering. The colors also looked washed out. I returned the display to my local Apple Store for a refund. No hassle getting my money back, but I am disappointed.

Jerry Schulze:

Let’s compare the new Apple Studio Display to the Eve Spectrum 4K with 144hz refresh.

Previously:

Update (2022-04-12): Albert:

having to unplug and re-plug my LG 5K 3x in this meeting because the USB on it keeps failing randomly is a good reminder of why the studio display is $300 more expensive

Previously:

Update (2022-04-14): John Gruber (tweet):

I’m ordering a Studio Display with the works: the nano-texture display and the height-adjustable stand. I saw the nano-texture display in person at an Apple Store, and it seems just what I need for a window-filled office. Reflections just disappear. It’s like magic.

[…]

Yesterday I noticed that the audio output from my Studio Display review unit was garbled. All audio, from all sources, was stuttered and jittery. Not just a little bit off, but unlistenable. Audio from my MacBook Pro’s built-in speakers, or from headphones, was fine. Detaching and reattaching the Mac to the Studio Display didn’t help. Neither did restarting the MacBook Pro.

There’s no power button, and the cable isn’t removable, so he had to unplug the display at the wall socket to reboot it.

John Gruber:

But, going from my personal memory, as someone who bought and strongly preferred Apple’s matte-finish laptop display back when they were an option, I would say that nano-texture is superior to the old “matte”. All the benefits of matte and I think some additional ones.

Peter N. Lewis:

I don’t do much zoom stuff, so I haven’t looked at the Studio Display camera yet, but I just checked, and wow, that’s terrible. I’m not very discerning with such things, but still, it is awful. I can’t believe they shipped it.

Peter N. Lewis:

I’m also hoping I don’t have to update the Studio Display every time Apple releases a new iOS update. That would be really annoying, especially as it requires a Mac restart for reasons that also elude me.

Update (2022-05-19): Josh Ginter:

Nevertheless, the Studio Display is one of the most giddy-worthy Apple products I’ve played with in a long time. Its design is impeccable, speakers deep and thorough, display bright and crisp, I/O usable and manageable.

[…]

If I had to rank the best aesthetically designed Apple products halfway through 2022, the Apple Studio Display may rank at the top.

Mac Studio

Apple (MacRumors, Hacker News):

With the power and efficiency of Apple silicon, Mac Studio completely reimagines what a high-performance desktop looks like. Every element inside Mac Studio was designed to optimize the performance of M1 Max and M1 Ultra, producing an unprecedented amount of power and capability in a form factor that can live right on a desk.

Built from a single aluminum extrusion with a square footprint of just 7.7 inches and a height of only 3.7 inches, Mac Studio takes up very little space and fits perfectly under most displays. Mac Studio also features an innovative thermal design that enables an extraordinary amount of performance. The unique system of double-sided blowers, precisely placed airflow channels, and over 4,000 perforations on the back and bottom of the enclosure guide air through the internal components and help cool the high-performance chips. And because of the efficiency of Apple silicon, Mac Studio remains incredibly quiet, even under the heaviest workloads.

[…]

On the back, Mac Studio includes four Thunderbolt 4 ports to connect displays and high-performance devices, a 10Gb Ethernet port, two USB-A ports, an HDMI port, and a pro audio jack for high-impedance headphones or external amplified speakers.

[…]

And because users frequently connect and disconnect devices, like portable storage, Mac Studio includes ports on the front for more convenient access. There are two USB-C ports, which on M1 Max supports 10Gb/s USB 3, and on M1 Ultra supports 40Gb/s Thunderbolt 4. There is also an SD card slot on the front to easily import photos and video.

Wow. This is pretty much the xMac (but with no internal expansion). It even has the same base price as the old Power Mac G5. With upgrades, it’s basically $900 less than a 14-inch MacBook Pro—no display but likely better thermals. The M1 Ultra (with the smaller 48-core GPU) is a $1,400 upgrade over the M1 Max, given the same storage.

Apple announced today that the Mac Pro is the only Mac yet to complete the transition to Apple Silicon, so it sounds to me like there will not be a new 27-inch iMac, at least not a Pro/Max/Ultra-caliber one. With the Studio Display announced, and no large-screen iMac to wait for, that simplifies my purchasing decision. I’ll likely get a Mac Studio to replace my 2017 iMac, though I’m not sure yet which configuration.

For one thing, I don’t know how well Xcode scales to lots of CPU cores. Overall, the different models of the M1 family are not great fits for my needs. I wish there were an M1 Pro with more RAM or an M1 Ultra with fewer GPU cores. (It also seems like there’d be room for a Mac mini with an M1 Pro.)

Andy Ihnatko:

The Mac Studio is very much the desktop Mac I’ve wanted for years. A Mac Mini...just more of it. Faster, more expandability, more displays.

Previously:

Update (2022-03-09): Dan Moren:

The only other key difference between M1 Max and M1 Ultra models are that the former has only USB-C ports on the front, as opposed to the latter which features Thunderbolt 4 ports.

Juli Clover:

According to Apple, the M1 Ultra has a copper thermal module, while the M1 Max has an aluminum heatsink. Copper is heavier than aluminum, hence the weight difference. The M1 Max Mac Studio weighs in at 5.9 pounds, while the M1 Ultra version is 7.9 pounds.

Howard Oakley:

There are two other benefits of large internal SSDs you should consider carefully. Larger SSDs perform better than smaller ones, and if you read the fine print on benchmarks quoted by Apple and others, you’ll see performance figures are invariably obtained on their highest capacity models. The other important benefit is slower wear, particularly if you can keep several hundred GB free at all times.

Jason Snell:

Apple chose Tuesday to remove the 27-inch iMac from sale. It’s a curious decision since the Mac Studio doesn’t really serve as a one-to-one replacement—especially when you add in the cost of an external monitor.

[…]

I have a hard time believing that Apple thinks that the single 24-inch iMac design is all that’s required.

So, a prediction: I think we’ll see a larger iMac next year. But I don’t think it will be capable of being specced up into the equivalent of a Mac Studio. More likely, it’ll be a larger version of the 24-inch iMac running an M2 chip.

Nick Heer:

The M1 iMac continues to be branded the “iMac 24″” which seems to leave the door open for a different-sized model. That suggests to me that a hypothetical 27-inch would be viewed more like a size variant and have more in common with the 24-inch model[…]

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Kinda fun that Microsoft’s ‘studio’ PC is a beautiful giant drafting table with pen & touch for designers, but Apple’s ‘studio’ PC is a dull little metal box packed with specs for developers, video editors, & workstation-level workloads. We’re definitely in an alternate timeline

Update (2022-03-16): Howard Oakley:

User processes are almost exclusively run on P cores, with E cores being recruited when there’s sufficient demand. Those user processes should therefore be accelerated in proportion to the number of P cores, provided that there are sufficient threads to run. It’s that last requirement which is key: if there are 8 or fewer threads with high active occupancy, then the M1 Ultra’s 16 P cores will be of little or no extra benefit. Only when the number of heavyweight threads exceeds 8 will those extra cores result in improved performance over the M1 Pro/Max.

This is likely to be reinforced by macOS’s management of cores, which are grouped into clusters, typically of four cores (two in the case of E cores in the M1 Pro/Max). When running 4 or fewer heavyweight threads, only the first P cluster (P0) will be active; with 5-8 threads, the second P cluster (P1) will be added; the Ultra’s P2 and P3 clusters will normally remain inactive, at a frequency of 600 MHz and full idle, until 9 or more threads are fully active.

Where the M1 Ultra may prove little advantage is in macOS background tasks, which aren’t just configured to run on E cores alone but also usually have I/O throttling applied. Unless that throttling is eased and E cores are run at higher frequencies, tasks such as Time Machine backups and Spotlight indexing are likely to take as long on an Apple Studio equipped with an M1 Ultra as on an M1 Max, or even on an original M1.

Benjamin Mayo:

I see the Mac Studio as the spiritual successor to the 2013 Mac Pro. It is meant to be small and compact enough to sit on the desk, not under the desk. It has a lot of IO ports for attaching external storage, additional displays and other peripherals, but it is not a user-expandable machine. The 2013 Mac Pro was compact, if only because Apple gambled on a future of GPU-oriented computation that never really panned out. Fast forward to the present day, and there is no need for trickery; it is the sheer efficiency of Apple Silicon enables the Mac Studio to boast top-tier performance in CPU and GPU benchmarks, all housed in an enclosure even smaller than the 2013 Mac Pro.

Upgrade:

John Siracusa joins Jason to talk about the Mythical Mid-Range Mac Minitower, the distortion of the iMac over time, the modular possibilities offered by the Apple Studio Display, and other fallout from last week’s Apple announcements.

Ken Segall:

Honestly, I have never been so appalled at an Apple strategy. Between the launch of Mac Studio and the simultaneous death of iMac 27, we who have so patiently waited for an Apple Silicon-powered 27-inch iMac are suddenly left with only two options.

We can hang onto our aging computers and simply hope that a new iMac 27 will one day appear. Or we can spend more than double the cost of a typical new iMac 27 for a Mac Studio + Studio Display.

[…]

Never in a million years did I imagine that Apple could leave such a large group of customers twisting in the wind. It’s frustrating.

[…]

Before last week, I would have said it is not even remotely possible that Apple would orphan its iMac 27 customers. What makes our situation extra-debilitating is that we don’t know if this has really happened, or if we just think that this has happened—because Apple isn’t talking.

Mark Gurman:

I still strongly believe a larger iMac with Apple’s pro chips is in development—but I don’t think it, nor the next Mac Pro, are coming anytime soon.

Update (2022-03-17): Jason Snell:

Speaking of chugging, I should mention that the Mac Studio has a fan—about half of its volume is taken up with a cooling system—and that fan seems to run constantly. It’s very quiet, throwing out low-level white noise that I couldn’t hear unless I sat in my office when it was completely quiet. But the sound is very much there, in a way my iMac Pro fan never was, and if you’re ultra-sensitive to fan noise in quiet environments, you will notice it. The good news is, not only is it quiet, the noise also seems fairly consistent. I threw graphics- and CPU-intensive tasks at the Mac Studio, and I couldn’t get the fan to sound any louder, at least to my ears.

[…]

The Mac Studio isn’t for everyone. But for the people who have been dreaming of something in between a Mac mini and a Mac Pro, something that wasn’t an iMac, it’s the fulfillment of a dream.

I guess I’m just going to have to get used to having a computer on my desk again.

Monica Chin:

I’ve, once again, given this device to a host of professionals on The Verge’s team, and the reactions I saw couldn’t be more different from those we saw in 2020 [with the Mac Pro]. They were impressed. For their workloads, it’s faster than anything they’ve ever used. It’s changed what they can do.

[…]

Oh, and yes: the M1 Ultra really is about twice as powerful in some benchmarks as an M1 Max. On the multi-core benchmarks in Cinebench and Geekbench, the M1 Ultra was consistently getting double the scores of the M1 Max. This did not translate to doubled scores in the real-world tasks, such as the Puget benchmarks, gaming, and the NPBench Python benchmarks that we ran to simulate scientific workloads — there are clearly bottlenecks here that aren’t just based on throughput, and performance will always reflect how well the program you’re in can use all these extra cores and threads.

[…]

It was a different story with graphics performance, however. Apple, in its keynote, claimed that the M1 Ultra would outperform Nvidia’s RTX 3090. I have no idea where Apple’s getting that from. We ran Geekbench Compute, which tests the power of a system’s GPU, on both the Mac Studio and a gaming PC with an RTX 3090, a Core i9-10900, and 64GB of RAM. And the Mac Studio got… destroyed.

[…]

In general, the consensus was that the Ultra is a bit faster. Like, maybe a millisecond or two. But that was pretty consistent across rendering, scrubbing, and everything else they did.

Matthew Panzarino:

There is a pretty clear throughline from Apple’s reset of the Mac Pro, to its formation of the Pro Workflows team to the development of Mac Studio. This is a port-rich offering that provides users with a lot of what they have been asking for both publicly on social media and in meetings with the workflow team.

[…]

In my testing, to cite one example, the Mac Studio with M1 Max that I am trying out clocked an 8K timeline export from Final Cut Pro that was 3x as fast as the 2020 M1 MacBook and only 3 minutes slower than a near-completely-maxed-out Mac Pro. The Mac Studio as configured will set you back around $3,200. Only around $20,000 cheaper than the Mac Pro I used to perform this test back in 2020.

[…]

The number of ports available on the Mac Studio is something that came out of talking to its pro customers, asking them how many devices that they’re using. The USB-A options were a bit surprising to me, to be honest, but Boger says that their research showed that there was still a legacy need.

Rene Ritchie:

From M1 Max to M1 Ultra, the two USB-C ports on the front of Mac Studio do benefit by becoming full-on Thunderbolt. So you can drive a display right up front if you want to. But the SDXC card reader on the front is still UHS-II and HDMI port on the back is still 2.0. No bump up to SDUC and UHS-II, never mind the kind of CFExpress cards I’m using these days, or to HDMI 2.1… which is an absolute joke of a mess of a standard at this point, but would allow for even more bandwidth for even higher resolutions and frame rates, among other amenities.

Update (2022-03-23): Steve Troughton-Smith:

Apple doubling down on Metal does not seem like a strategic win when so many professional tools just aren’t optimizing for it, if they have Metal renderers at all. Instead, most just going through OpenGL/Vulkan compatibility layers, wherein performance is crushed by Windows GPUs

Obviously, the pragmatic approach would be to make macOS a kickass first-class citizen for OpenGL and Vulkan apps. It seems incredibly wasteful to nerf Apple GPU performance so over some misguided pride, or delusion that anybody making cross-platform tools will care about Metal

Not only that, but the mere suggestion that Apple intended to deprecate OpenGL burned a lot of bridges, and there is zero indication that Apple is even starting to repair that reputational damage, years later

Marques Brownlee:

As far as I can tell, there is no way to open a Mac Studio. Which isn’t a surprise as far as RAM or GPU upgrades - we knew Apple would never allow that… but the thermals on this machine are super important and we can’t even clean out the fans every few months

Frank Reiff:

The M1 Ultra Mac Studio also produces a constant low but clearly audible fan noise.. which I hate to admit.. is fairly irritating and very unexpected. Especially when it’s literally doing nothing.

Max Tech (via Hacker News):

In this video, we do a complete teardown of Apple’s Mac Studio and we get it down to the core. We show off the internal components, the new copper heatsink and cooling system, the speaker, the power supply and much more!

Steve Troughton-Smith:

The Mac Studio’s SSDs are on little PCIe cards, and there are two slots inside for future upgradability

Jason Snell:

This article explains, in detail, how Apple has chosen to structure its SSDs (the controller is in the M1 system on a chip) and why Apple has chosen to pair chips to individual systems for security reasons.

William Gallagher:

Apple only rarely introduces an entirely new Mac, but two executives working on the Mac Studio say that its design has its roots in Apple's work over decades. In a new interview with GQ magazine, vice president of hardware engineering Kate Bergeron traces it back to the first Mac she worked on, the 17-inch PowerBook G4.

Sebastiaan de With:

ok but can your Mac Studio do this?

Update (2022-04-13): Juli Clover:

iFixit today disassembled Apple’s new M1 Max Mac Studio, giving us a first glimpse at the components inside the machine.

Peter Wiggins:

Shortly after the announcement of the Mac Studio and Studio Display at the Peak Performance Apple event, we had the pleasure of talking to three Apple executives about the new machine and how the creative pro would benefit.

Francisco Tolmasky:

So, the Mac Studio definitely isn’t what Apple markets it as (a “modular computer”), but I think I can safely say that it is the computer I’ve been wanting them to make for a decade now: the guts of a MacBook Pro, but with the benefits of a Desktop that I care about.

A lot of my praise for the Mac Studio could perhaps be seen as just finally escaping a host of issues that have plagued the MacBook line forever.

A good example is how the Mac Studio has a ton of ports and ethernet, which while great in their own right, more importantly allow me to get rid of flakey TB hubs. I’ve never had TB or USB-C hub that hasn’t caused weird crashes or boot after sleep issues.

Another example is how my external display finally behaves reasonably. Even if I permanently attached my MBP to a monitor in clamshell mode and never undocked, my windows would always get confused when waking, as if they had readjusted to the MBP screen size during sleep.

Update (2022-04-28): Juli Clover:

Some Mac Studio owners have noticed that their machines are making a high-pitched “whining” sound that appears to be coming from the fan. There are pages of complaints on the MacRumors forums about the issue, and it seems to be affecting a number of users.

Craig Hunter (via John Gruber, Hacker News):

Performance of the Mac Studio is actually off the chart here. Before it went off the chart, the Mac Studio’s 6-core performance caught up to the full 28-core performance of the Mac Pro and then surpassed it.

[…]

Now we see that the Mac Studio shot up to just over 180 GFlops performance on 16 cores (using only performance cores), over twice the performance that the 2019 Mac Pro reached with 28 cores. What’s more, the slope of the performance curve is dramatically different. Whereas the 2019 Mac Pro labored to add additional performance past about 14 cores, the Mac Studio shows very little fall off, indicating that the 16 cores had plenty of bandwidth for memory access and parallel communication without competing with each other very much.

Update (2022-06-02): Maxwell Swadling:

i hate how I have to unplug and replug my usb c displays every couple days into the Mac studio. Still beats it kernal panicing at night with intel, but you would think apple could work out how an external display works by 2022

Apple M1 Ultra

Apple (Hacker News):

Featuring UltraFusion — Apple’s innovative packaging architecture that interconnects the die of two M1 Max chips to create a system on a chip (SoC) with unprecedented levels of performance and capabilities — M1 Ultra delivers breathtaking computing power to the new Mac Studio while maintaining industry-leading performance per watt. The new SoC consists of 114 billion transistors, the most ever in a personal computer chip. M1 Ultra can be configured with up to 128GB of high-bandwidth, low-latency unified memory that can be accessed by the 20-core CPU, 64-core GPU, and 32-core Neural Engine, providing astonishing performance for developers compiling code, artists working in huge 3D environments that were previously impossible to render, and video professionals who can transcode video to ProRes up to 5.6x faster than with a 28-core Mac Pro with Afterburner.

[…]

For the most graphics-intensive needs, like 3D rendering and complex image processing, M1 Ultra has a 64-core GPU — 8x the size of M1 — delivering faster performance than even the highest-end PC GPU available while using 200 fewer watts of power.

Apple:

  • Up to 3.8x faster CPU performance than the fastest 27-inch iMac with 10-core processor.
  • Up to 90 percent faster CPU performance than Mac Pro with 16-core Xeon processor.
  • Up to 60 percent faster CPU performance than 28-core Mac Pro.
  • Up to 4.5x faster graphics performance than the 27-inch iMac, and up to 80 percent faster than the fastest Mac graphics card available today.

Ken Shirriff:

Here are the two dies at the same scale. The M1 Ultra is much, much larger physically [than the ARM1]; I estimate it is 20x47mm. Its transistors are much smaller (5 nm vs 3000 nm) giving it 114 billion transistors instead of 25,000. If built with modern transistors, the ARM1 would be a tiny dot.

Previously:

Update (2022-03-16): Ryan Smith:

The net result is a chip that, without a doubt, manages to be one of the most interesting designs I’ve ever seen for a consumer SoC. As we’ll touch upon in our analysis, the M1 Ultra is not quite like any other consumer chip currently on the market. And while double die strategy benefits sprawling multi-threaded CPU and GPU workloads far more than it does more single-threaded tasks – an area where Apple is already starting to fall behind – in the process they re breaking new ground on the GPU front. By enabling the M1 Ultra’s two dies to transparently present themselves as a single GPU, Apple has kicked off a new technology race for placing multi-die GPUs in high-end consumer and workstation hardware.

Jean-Louis Gassée (Hacker News):

First, benchmarks will reveal that, for a single thread, a single sequence of operations, the M1 Ultra isn’t faster than an entry-level M1 chip. This is because the the clock speed associated with the 5nm process common to all M1 chip hasn’t changed for the M1 Ultra. The newer chip will particularly shine in multithreaded applications generally associated with media development (audio, video, animation…) and some software development. All of which constitute a juicy and traditional enough market for Apple whose control of its macOS system software helps maximize multithreading performance.

Second, the recourse to two M1 Max chips fused into a M1 Ultra means TSMC’s 5 nm process has reached its upper limit.

See also: Ben Sandofsky.

Update (2022-04-14): Vadim Yuryev (Hacker News):

Problem: Apple shows that the M1 Ultra GPU can use up to 105W of power. However, the highest we could ever get it to reach was around 86W.

[…]

Culprit: Each cluster of GPU cores within an M1/M1 Pro/M1 Max/M1 Ultra chip comes with a 32MB TLB or Transaction Lookaside Buffer[…]

[…]

“If an application has not been optimized for the M1 GPU architecture’s tile memory, (not just Metal optimized) then every read/write needs to go all the way out to system memory. If the GPU compute task is issuing MANY little reads, then this will saturate the TLB. The issue is if GPU data hits the TLB and the page table being read/written to is not loaded, then that entire thread group on the GPU needs to pause while the page table is loaded into the TLB. […] The effort needed to optimize for tile memory is MASSIVE.”

Update (2022-04-19): Sami Fathi:

In a rare media interview, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technologies, Johny Srouji, discussed Apple’s transition to Apple silicon for the Mac, the challenges of developing chips for the Mac amid a global health crisis, and more.

iPad Air 2022

Apple (MacRumors):

Apple today introduced the new iPad Air with the Apple-designed M1 chip, delivering a massive leap in performance. Available in a new array of colors, iPad Air also features the new Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage for a more natural video conferencing experience, a USB-C port with up to 2x faster transfer speeds, and blazing-fast 5G on cellular models — starting at the same affordable price. Advanced cameras and compatibility with the latest accessories enable users, including content creators, gamers, and students, to push the boundaries of creativity, productivity, and self expression.

[…]

Loved for its thin and light design, the new iPad Air comes in a gorgeous array of colors: space gray, starlight, pink, purple, and a stunning new blue. iPad Air features a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display for an immersive visual experience, with 3.8 million pixels and advanced technologies, including 500 nits of brightness, full lamination, a P3 wide color gamut, True Tone, and an anti-reflective screen coating.

The base configuration is $599 (unchanged) for 64 GB of storage and Wi-Fi.

Previously:

Update (2022-03-16): See also: Federico Viticci, Rene Ritchie, Jason Snell, MacRumors, Nick Heer, John Gruber.

Update (2022-03-23): Hartley Charlton:

The complaints claim that the iPad Air has a noticeably thinner aluminum enclosure, resulting in creaking, a hollow sensation in the hand, and light pressure on the back of the device warping the display. A thread on Reddit (via iMore) contains a large number of complaints from iPad Air users who say they have build quality concerns about the device.

iPhone SE 2022

Apple (Hacker News):

The new iPhone SE features impressive upgrades including the performance of A15 Bionic, which powers advanced camera capabilities and makes nearly every experience better, from photo editing to power-intensive operations like gaming and augmented reality. Along with 5G, longer battery life, and improved durability, iPhone SE comes in three stunning colors — midnight, starlight, and (PRODUCT)RED.1 iPhone SE will be available for pre-order this Friday, March 11, with availability beginning Friday, March 18.

The base configuration is $429 (up from $399) for 64 GB of storage. It’s not clear to me how the camera compares.

Previously:

Update (2022-03-09): Sean Hollister:

On Tuesday, Apple announced the 2022 iPhone SE, the first 5G iPhone for the United States that lacks the millimeter-wave 5G that AT&T and especially Verizon have doggedly insisted on for years. Instead of rejecting that iPhone or insisting that Apple make a special version for its millimeter-wave network, Verizon will simply... carry it. Verizon spokesperson George Koroneos confirmed to The Verge that the company will stock it in stores.

Why am I making such a big deal about something so normal? You need to understand that things have not been normal in Verizon-land. Verizon pushed Google to create a version of its budget Pixel 4A 5G that cost $100 more to satisfy the carrier’s ridiculous demand that phones support barely-there millimeter wave. The Verizon version of Samsung’s Galaxy S20 had less RAM and no microSD expansion so they could fit mmWave 5G. All of Apple’s high-end iPhones have had tiny picture windows for millimeter wave if you buy them in the United States, and for what? Personally, I’ve experienced a Verizon mmWave 5G signal with my iPhone mini a total of once.

Update (2022-03-16): Antonio G. Di Benedetto:

You cannot get another phone for under $500 with as fast a processor or as many years of expected updates as an iPhone SE.

[…]

That design may seem warm and cozy to longstanding iPhone owners that haven’t upgraded their phones in years, but compared to Android phones, it looks like it’s ripped from a long-forgotten past. For about the same price of the iPhone SE are all kinds of excellent Android phones with larger screens, bigger batteries, more RAM, and extra cameras. The iPhone SE might offer higher performance thanks to its CPU, but phones like the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, Galaxy A42 5G, Google Pixel 5A, and Motorola Moto Edge 5G UW (2021) pack in more modern features and just stuff in general.

Via Matt Birchler:

The Snapdragon SoC’s in these Android phones are way slower than the A15 in the SE. Like 1/3 the speed according to Geekbench in both single and multi-core benchmarks. Fast enough for reviewers in 2022 to say “things run fine” but not fast enough to still feel that quick 2+ years down the line.

John Gruber:

What matters is that the A15 is the most efficient phone chip in the world, too. It should last noticeably longer — hours longer — in typical use compared to the 2020 iPhone SE, and much longer than the several-years-old phones with depleted batteries most iPhone SE buyers are likely replacing. After last week’s announcement, I saw many nerds on Twitter — people who clearly had no interest themselves in buying the iPhone SE — griping that it’s downright wrong for Apple to put a “faster” chip in the same old form factor without greatly increasing the capacity of the battery. Too many nerds have internalized the way it used to be, that when chips got faster they necessarily consumed more power. Apple silicon has fundamentally changed that equation. The A15 in the new third-gen iPhone SE is both faster and more power efficient than the A13 in the second-gen iPhone SE.

[…]

The camera hardware is unchanged from the 2020 SE, but the image quality of photos is superior because so much of image quality from phone cameras comes from the image signal processing on the chips, and the A15’s ISP produces noticeably superior results.

walktall:

I disagree with him about the battery part. My wife has a second gen SE and battery doesn’t make it through a work day. Even if the A15 is more power efficient, the display still sucks the most power and is unchanged, and 5G could impact the battery too.

The bottom line is the battery in the SE is too anemic for modern phones. If the battery can’t last, then the SE isn’t the “comfort” iPhone, it’s just the “familiar” iPhone.

Apple could have bothered to redesign the chassis to still have the home button but a larger battery. Instead they slapped new chips in and called it a day. This isn’t some brilliant move by them, it’s a lazy one.

It also still has the iPhone shape that’s the least comfortable in the hand.

Via Matt Birchler:

We don’t know how big the battery is in the new SE, but this is a complaint I have heard from several 2020 SE owners.

Update (2022-03-23): Joe Rossignol:

The teardowns reveal the new iPhone SE has a larger 2,018 mAh battery compared to 1,821 mAh for the previous-generation model. The new iPhone SE offers up to an extra two hours of video playback and up to an extra 10 hours of audio playback on a full charge versus the previous model, according to Apple's tech specs.