Tuesday, March 8, 2022

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.


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
85W power delivery
3 USB 2
Gig Ethernet
Thunderbolt port
Cam & Speakers

Apple Studio Display = $1599
5120 × 2880
96w power delivery
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 (!!!).


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.


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


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.

20 Comments RSS · Twitter

So it's basically an iMac screen and I/O for the same price as a full blown iMac?

Meanwhile I got an LG 27" 4k screen for my PC for $350, with matte finish. 4k and 5k isn't THAT much difference. Apple is really taking advantage of the market (and yes, so is LG with their 5k). Why can't they sell us a 27" 5k for $700 with no frills? Even at that price they'd be making their 35% profit, easy.

@Ben I don’t really know why there is no market, but I do think the difference between 4K and 5K is significant.

Ahh, sorry for the confusing statement -- I was talking about the manufacturing cost of 4k vs 5k. No reason a 5k display should be nearly 4x the cost of a 4k.

Michael, I assume you bought the standard monitor and not the nano display?

@Ben Economy of Scale. I made a prediction before the keynote expecting Apple to move to 255PPI as they did with MacBook Pro Screen. Which is much more used in the industry. The 220PPI panel used in the 5K screen is practically speaking only used by Apple. The 4K 27" you mentioned is pretty much an industry standard ~160PPI panel. They are mass produced and are very cheap.

But considering they also discontinued the 27" iMac I suspect they will need to use up the 220ppi panel volume as they originally signed up for.

It is also interesting to note now Apple has essentially two PPI grade Display on their Mac lineup. Fairly unusual. Their iPhone has had a consistent 326 PPI, ( excluding iPhone Plus which down scales ), even their OLED panel has 326PPI for non Green colour. And Apple has been fairly consistent in PPI across their product range.

@Ben Yeah, I don’t know. Is it the higher DPI? The lower volume? Just higher profit margins?

@William Yes, I bought the standard with VESA.

I doubt they mind the margins, but volume has got to play a role.

Unfortunately, the Windows side of things still doesn't particularly seem to care about higher DPI on external displays. It's less of an issue because portions of Windows still support subpixel rendering, and because you get non-integer scaling modes. Thus, something like a 4K at 27" is more workable on Windows.

This feels like an incomplete answer to "I have a Mac, and want to connect a display — what do I get?".

I am, however, glad Apple is expanding their offerings, and their BTO options are also far more reasonably priced than on the Pro XDR.

Also you can’t swap out different mounting options on the Studio Display. Buy it with the regular stand and you can never change it to VESA later. Why don’t they just use VESA as the standard, and attach every option to that? Because it’s Apple and they always want to screw you if they can.

I feel like these little “screw the customer” details have gotten noticeably worse (and present on much more expensive products) under Cook’s leadership, but that might just be my imagination because Jobs era products certainly had their weird limitations from time to time too.

@Ben I guess because the VESA connector is ugly from behind? But, yeah, if you get the VESA display you don’t even have to use an arm; there are a variety of VESA stands available, too.

It's hard not to look at this and think that you're getting fleeced: less value for a lot more money than before. This plus a Mac Mini or Mac Studio is much more expensive than a similar 27" iMac, it's less convenient, and it's less pretty.

I share @Ben's complaint about there not being a 5K monitor for slightly more money than 4K. As things stand now I would not buy this 5K monitor because it doesn't seem worth it when I can buy a more flexible and useful 4K monitor for a quarter of the price. Yes, 5K looks better, but to me not $1000 better. And as I type this I'm staring at a beautiful 5K monitor on my 27" iMac so I know what I'd be giving up!

@Bri It’s definitely more money up front. I had thought the 27-inch iMac was quite popular, so I don’t really understand why they’re not making that any more. I think a lot of people would prefer that. They think 4.5K is close enough? In theory, the Studio Display may be cheaper over the long term because you can keep it for 10 years and upgrade the computer without throwing away a display each time.

Somewhere I saw a comment (which I can't find now, of course - so many place discussing the new display) where it was said that the display wasn't useful because they can't plug it into a PC. Does Windows not support Thunderbold attached displays? I understand that lots of PC hardware doesn't have Thunderbolt, but it is becoming more common.

Apple should release a decent-poweful standalone Mac ($1,000) with a decent 27-inch retina display that can flip for landscape and vertical viewing ($1,000). Matte display, please, but not nano-textured, which is awful. Total of $2,000 and no more than $5,000.

@liam I'm able to use my LG UltraFine 5K with a Windows box that has TB3 (with displayport from the video card passed in to the little TB connector card, externally) and it works fine, but only at 4K. I would *guess* it's the same here.

Ghost Quartz

This display is profoundly disappointing given the lack of HDR, local-dimming, and ProMotion. Does it even support fixed refresh rates besides 60Hz? These are features prominently advertised on the iPad Pro and MBP, so it’s bizarre to see their absence on a $1600 display.

And yet, it is also the best display available at this size and resolution.

It might be too early to do ProMotion over 5K. If my math is right, that's almost 43 Gigabits per second, unless you use display stream compression, which comes with its own share of problems.

Mini-LED is probably chiefly a cost issue. There's already a rumor today that they're also doing a higher-end version planned.

Ghost Quartz

> unless you use display stream compression, which comes with its own share of problems

The Pro Display XDR already use DSC, does it not?

Wikipedia says 5K 120Hz 10bpc requires 57.08 Gbit/s, which is possible uncompressed with UHBR20 or with HBR3 if you use DSC.

Oh, interesting. I think Apple is saying (https://www.apple.com/pro-display-xdr/pdf/Pro_Display_White_Paper_Feb_2020.pdf) the Pro XDR uses DSC if necessary, but prefers HBR3 if available.

"Its design is impeccable, speakers deep and thorough, display bright and crisp, I/O usable and manageable."

Strange conclusion considering that the same source wrote:

"It also happens to be the only good thing I can say about this pathetic Studio Display camera"

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