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Warped9

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Oct 27, 2018
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This week I finally got to see a Studio Display in person when where I work put one out on display/demo right beside our blue 24in. M1 iMac. Until recently I had only seen the Studio Display in photos and video reviews.

First impressions. This thing is solidly constructed and sturdy. It looks like a quality piece of hardware. Every other display I’ve ever seen looks slapped together in comparison. And knowing it’s a 5K display with hub and 6 speaker audio system leaves me thinking that, while still expensive, it doesn’t strike me as quite so totally absurd as I had thought.

The other thing that hit me, particularly with its pedestal being near exactly like the 24in. iMac, is this could well have been the new 27in. iMac initially. There certainly appears to be enough room in the chassis for all the requisite hardware. And the distinctly thicker chassis would likely allow for additional ports besides USB-C and Thunderbolt.

I can also easily see how they could have done this with the colour options as well on the pedestal, back and sides. Indeed this looks pretty much exactly like how so many expected the new iMac to look before the current iMac design was revealed.

Don’t get me wrong. I still quite like the current iMac design—it’s immediately recognizable yet nicely updated. But it’s inescapable the Studio Display could have been the bigger iMac Apple opted not to make. Hell, it could still be made into a form of new iMac Pro, but with a less insane price point.
 
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macsound1

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May 17, 2007
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I had an online call with someone the other day with a studio display, and it was awful. Biggest reason is - no one else’s camera ever moves. Because why would it. This guy, every time he leaned forward, back, grabbed his coffee, the camera zoomed and panned and was so distracting. He wasn’t even talking but man it drew my attention away constantly.

I absolutely agree that this display could easily have been an entire Mac, especially considering there’s an iPhone motherboard smushed in there already.
 
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Warped9

macrumors 68000
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Oct 27, 2018
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I can’t speak about the camera at this point.

But while the Studio Display looks really nice its construction and finish are its most distinctive design feature because otherwise it just looks like a monitor. In this respect I personally prefer the current iMac design for being immediately distinct and recognizable. That said I wouldn’t have been disappointed if the Studio Display had been the new 24 and 27 iMacs, but it wouldn’t have been as recognizable. It would have been a truly minimalist design.

And that might have been a consideration from Apple’s perspective. The current iMac draws attention to itself while the Studio Display doesn’t.

It would be interesting to know the development history of the SD. At what point and why did they decide to not have a larger iMac and go with the SD and in extent the Mac Studio? Because just looking at the SD you can’t help but think they changed their minds midstream and pulled the computer components out of the existent chassis and put them into the Mac Studio.
 

JaredJenkinsDesign

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Jul 19, 2022
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I had an online call with someone the other day with a studio display, and it was awful. Biggest reason is - no one else’s camera ever moves. Because why would it. This guy, every time he leaned forward, back, grabbed his coffee, the camera zoomed and panned and was so distracting. He wasn’t even talking but man it drew my attention away constantly.

I absolutely agree that this display could easily have been an entire Mac, especially considering there’s an iPhone motherboard smushed in there already.
Very true. On my Studio Display, I thought the center stage feature was neat at first but after while, it gets distracting, annoying and sometimes doesn't centers me properly and leaves me a bit in the corner. You can disable that feature if you want.
 

Zest28

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Jul 11, 2022
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It doesn’t have the chin like iMac’s and the design is more in line with the Pro XDR display. It’s really just a display.

LG Ultrafine have a very high faillure rate, so whatever changes Apple made, it is for that reason and also put in a new 600 nits panel, rather than a failed iMac.

So you are saying the Pro XDR is a failed 32” iMac too?
 
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Warped9

macrumors 68000
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Oct 27, 2018
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So you are saying the Pro XDR is a failed 32” iMac too?
No. The iMac has a chin because thats where most of the computer is given how thin the overall chassis is. But the SD is distinctly thicker so it doesn’t need a chin to house the speakers and its components. So it struck me how easily it could have been a new iMac design if indeed that had been an initial intention.
 

okkibs

macrumors 6502a
Sep 17, 2022
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LG Ultrafine have a very high faillure rate, so whatever changes Apple made, it is for that reason
The Studio Display needs extra hardware to run iOS, meaning it has electronic components that are generally not essential to the functioning of monitors, but the Studio Display wouldn't turn on without them. This additional complexity adds risk of failure, even if the main components of the monitor are still in working order, such as the power supply. And nobody will be able to fix that for cheap or perhaps at all, since Apple won't make cheap replacement parts available. Perhaps they do better than the Ultrafines, and given the hefty markup I sure hope they do, but that unnecessary additional complexity does not suggest it. Some customers were already told back in 2022 to bring their Studio Display in for repair when Apple carelessly removed some iOS update from their servers. (In the end Apple rolled that back on the server side.)
 

Zest28

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No. The iMac has a chin because thats where most of the computer is given how thin the overall chassis is. But the SD is distinctly thicker so it doesn’t need a chin to house the speakers and its components. So it struck me how easily it could have been a new iMac design if indeed that had been an initial intention.

The added thickness was most likely added to deal with the reliability issues of the LG Ultrafine and the newer 600 nits display which will run hotter.

The 27” M1 iMac would have had a chin too. That is how iMac’s look like.

Just look at the Apple Cinema Display from 1999, and you will see that the Pro XDR and Apple Studio Display have a similar design language as that super old monitor from almost 25 years ago.
 

Zest28

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Jul 11, 2022
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The Studio Display needs extra hardware to run iOS, meaning it has electronic components that are generally not essential to the functioning of monitors, but the Studio Display wouldn't turn on without them. This additional complexity adds risk of failure, even if the main components of the monitor are still in working order, such as the power supply. And nobody will be able to fix that for cheap or perhaps at all, since Apple won't make cheap replacement parts available. Perhaps they do better than the Ultrafines, and given the hefty markup I sure hope they do, but that unnecessary additional complexity does not suggest it. Some customers were already told back in 2022 to bring their Studio Display in for repair when Apple carelessly removed some iOS update from their servers. (In the end Apple rolled that back on the server side.)

But since my MacBook Pro from 2010 still works today, I am confident that Apple addressed the reliability problems of the LG Ultrafine.

And if there is a design problem somewhere, Apple does tend to come with a hardware replacement program in some cases. So I’m less worried about it.
 

theluggage

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2011
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The Studio Display needs extra hardware to run iOS, meaning it has electronic components that are generally not essential to the functioning of monitors, but the Studio Display wouldn't turn on without them.
Extra hardware compared to what? Apple haven't just glued an iPhone in there just to run iOS for fun - an A-series SoC contains most of the circuitry needed to run any device with displays, audio, I/O ports etc. let alone multi-speaker systems and 'smart' webcams. Take it out and you'd need a load more hardware to replace that functionality or far more complex drivers running on the Mac end & more proprietary protocols (currently, the basic functionality, minus spatial audio and centre stage, works on a PC)

It is typical these days for computer peripherals to have on-board processors and software rather than custom circuitry. If you dig into the teardown for the LG Ultrafine - not a particularly new design - it contains a NXP LPC11U7x which turns out to be an ARM-based "microcontroller" with its own RAM, flash storage for firmware etc. It makes perfect sense for Apple to use their own, existing chips and operating system rather than buy-in a third party alternative, especially since iOS already has drivers for the webcam & its centre stage tricks and the audio stuff may well re-use code from the HomePod OS. Especially with the chip shortages of the last few years. It looks like overkill wrt. the processor power, RAM and flash capabilities - but Apple are using components that they already either make themselves or buy in vast quantities (64GB is nothing - it's hardly news that Apple gouges horrendously for storage upgrades - they're not going to gouge themselves when its an unpublished feature).

I think people are reading too much into the whole "iOS" thing - there's no evidence that the "iOS" in the Studio Display consists of any more than the kernel and whatever software/drivers are needed to run the display. They just didn't get around to re-branding it "ScreenOS" or something. You can't install Apps (which would open up a whole can of worms) it doesn't have networking and there will be no cause to upgrade it once Apple have fixed any initial bugs.

Would some people like 'just a monitor' (no webcam, speakers, microphones or power delivery)? Sure, but then we're into the SmartTV paradox - it's sometimes cheaper to mass-produce a product with all the bells and whistles than make two models, one of which serves a small niche. (See below)

The other thing that hit me, particularly with its pedestal being near exactly like the 24in. iMac, is this could well have been the new 27in. iMac initially.
I don't think the evidence backs that up.

The fans: other comparable displays have fans (see the LG Ultrafine teardown) and the even brighter display on the SD will generate even more heat. The fans in the Studio Display aren't connected to the processor in any way: A 27" iMac would need to support Mx Pro or Max chips which generate a lot more heat than a mere A13, and the fans would need to be mounted directly on the SoC or connected by heatpipes - as on the other actively cooled Macs).

The processor: see above - they're basically using the A13 as a microcontroller. It's that, re-invent the wheel or pay for a 3rd party controller.

The case: a lot of the space is taken up by an expensive-looking low-profile power supply that is big enough to power the display and charge a MacBook Pro via Thunderbolt. Because... I think the #1 purpose of the Studio display was not to be an iMac, not even to be a display for desktop Macs but to be the ultimate docking station for a MacBook (the same was also true of the old Thunderbolt and LED Cinema displays). Desktop sales are on the down, especially since Apple Silicon has largely erased the performance difference between high-end laptop and mid-range desktop Macs - and the Studio Display is intended to appeal to all Mac users, not just the minority buying desktops (many of whom will choose 3rd party displays that better meet their needs anyway).
 

okkibs

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Sep 17, 2022
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But since my MacBook Pro from 2010 still works today, I am confident that Apple addressed the reliability problems of the LG Ultrafine.
Apple cannot address problems in someone else's product. Both my MBP from 2007 and the replacement 2008 one broke multiple times during the 3 year warranty and then gave out shortly after the warranty expired, because Apple repaired them with replacement logic boards that had the same defect. My 2011 MBP also broke multiple times due to a similar series defect and didn't make it for long after warranty expiration.

And if there is a design problem somewhere, Apple does tend to come with a hardware replacement program in some cases. So I’m less worried about it.
Apple offers these programs only when they are looking at lawsuits and the issue is so widely known they have no other choice. You are saying this as if it's to the customer's benefit when in reality Apple denies that there is a series defect until years after it's already known.

For example my defective 2011 Mac broke down for the final time outside warranty in 2014 at which point I was asked to pay full price for a repair for a device that was repaired without lasting success four times in three years. By the time the "replacement program" came out I didn't even own this broken Mac anymore. I had already bought a 2012 model to switch over to, and that one worked until the battery inflated in its 4th year outside warranty and that time I did pay for the battery replacement since that had a more viable pricing compared to paying for a logic board on a 3+ years old machine.

But in terms of reliability Apple has been pretty terrible, on my 2015 MBP I had 3 batteries swell up each after less than 3 years and Apple made me pay full price for each and every one of them.

Extra hardware compared to what?
Extra hardware compared to most other monitors. You connect them to your Mac via Displayport and you're good to go. Perhaps you use USB-C and get hub functionality. There are no regular firmware updates needed, and if any of the additional functionality like the hub dies, or the USB-C doesn't play nice with a device, you can likely still use the monitor via Displayport.

On the Studio Display you have a full mobile OS that requires regular updating, and a single USB-C port that can have compatibility issues with various devices, at a later point in time as well if one of the iOS updates introduces a bug. No fallback DisplayPort either.
 

theluggage

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2011
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Extra hardware compared to most other monitors. You connect them to your Mac via Displayport and you're good to go. Perhaps you use USB-C and get hub functionality. There are no regular firmware updates needed,
Most other monitors (whatever interface they use) have upgradeable firmware.
Google "<insert make and model of display> firmware. E.g https://www.dell.com/support/kbdoc/...r-updating-the-firmware-for-your-dell-monitor - the Studio Display is totally unremarkable in that respect.

On the Studio Display you have a full mobile OS that requires regular updating,
Why will it require regular updating? You can't install applications (which otherwise might need newer iOS versions), there's no built-in networking (so security issues are unlikely) so there's absolutely no reason to update unless there's a bug that is causing you problems.

Apple haven't even said it runs iOS, let alone "full" iOS - AFAIK all we know is that the firmware version number is the same as the current version of iOS, so it's probably based on iOS, which would still be true if (as I suggested in my last post) they're just using the iOS kernel and relevant drivers. Even if it is a complete copy of iOS, most of it won't be running because the Studio Display isn't, you know, an iPhone...

I do agree that only having a single input is a problem (the major deal-breaker for me) but that has been true of every Apple display since... well, ever.
 

Yebubbleman

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May 20, 2010
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This week I finally got to see a Studio Display in person when where I work put one out on display/demo right beside our blue 24in. M1 iMac. Until recently I had only seen the Studio Display in photos and video reviews.

First impressions. This thing is solidly constructed and sturdy. It looks like a quality piece of hardware. Every other display I’ve ever seen looks slapped together in comparison. And knowing it’s a 5K display with hub and 6 speaker audio system leaves me thinking that, while still expensive, it doesn’t strike me as quite so totally absurd as I had thought.

The other thing that hit me, particularly with its pedestal being near exactly like the 24in. iMac, is this could well have been the new 27in. iMac initially. There certainly appears to be enough room in the chassis for all the requisite hardware. And the distinctly thicker chassis would likely allow for additional ports besides USB-C and Thunderbolt.

I can also easily see how they could have done this with the colour options as well on the pedestal, back and sides. Indeed this looks pretty much exactly like how so many expected the new iMac to look before the current iMac design was revealed.

Don’t get me wrong. I still quite like the current iMac design—it’s immediately recognizable yet nicely updated. But it’s inescapable the Studio Display could have been the bigger iMac Apple opted not to make. Hell, it could still be made into a form of new iMac Pro, but with a less insane price point.

At the time the Mac Studio and Studio Display were released, I was shopping for an iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2020) because I had need for one final Intel Mac. So, I was doing a lot of price comparisons on various components to see what the pricing would look like.

If you were to configure, albeit from Apple using their nonsense pricing for RAM and SSD, THAT model of iMac to have 32GB of RAM (again, needlessly expensive compared to an aftermarket RAM upgrade kit that you could install yourself) the 10th Generation Intel Core i7 (so, the middle processor option) and 512GB of SSD storage with the base model GPU, with 10 Gigabit Ethernet, you'd basically have the exact same cost as the base model M1 Max Mac Studio and the base configuration of Studio Display. Incidentally, if you were to take the iMac Pro (back when it was still being sold), spec it out with 64GB of RAM, 1TB of SSD, and its base model graphics, you'd have the cost of the base model M1 Ultra Mac Studio and the base configuration of the Studio Display.

The combination of M1 Max Mac Studio and Studio Display is very clearly designed to replace the 27-inch iMac. And the only thing you sacrifice in that process (that isn't already a must by virtue of how Apple Silicon works) is that the computer and the monitor are separate (which many high-end customers have wanted for a long time and many would argue is a benefit and not a detriment). Similarly, the combination of M1 Ultra Mac Studio and Studio Display is clearly geared toward iMac Pro users. Those are the natural replacements for those machines. The only thing sacrificed is that they're not all-in-one. But, again, that's a feature with more consumer benefits than high-end Mac use benefits.

The only thing that the Studio Display was missing as a 27-inch iMac killer, was something more low-end to connect to that would still otherwise be worthy of replacing the lower-end models of 27-inch iMac. That last iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2020) had models with less than 512GB of SSD and less than 32GB of RAM. Also machines with less relative heft than the M1 Max would offer. Now that gap is filled by the M2 Pro version of the 2023 Mac mini. In fact, you can now pair your Studio display with a Mac mini or Mac Studio with an M1, M2, M2 Pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra; with as low as 8GB to as high as 128GB of RAM; with as low as 256GB to as high as 8TB SSD; with as few as 8 and as high as 64 GPU cores; with as low as 8 and as high as 20 CPU cores.

Put it this way, the Studio Display now gives you so many more options of paired computer than any generation of 27-inch iMac ever gave. More choice is definitely good here.


I had an online call with someone the other day with a studio display, and it was awful. Biggest reason is - no one else’s camera ever moves. Because why would it. This guy, every time he leaned forward, back, grabbed his coffee, the camera zoomed and panned and was so distracting. He wasn’t even talking but man it drew my attention away constantly.

I absolutely agree that this display could easily have been an entire Mac, especially considering there’s an iPhone motherboard smushed in there already.

Is it not possible to turn off Center Stage on the Studio Display (in System Preferences/Settings)? That does sound like the kind of thing that would drive me utterly insane. And I feel like it says something that the Studio Display launched in March 2022 and every single model of MacBook that launched since then (so M2 Air, M2 13-inch Pro, M2 Pro/Max 14 and 16 inch Pro) hasn't launched with that feature.
 
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lepidotós

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Aug 29, 2021
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Just look at the Apple Cinema Display from 1999, and you will see that the Pro XDR and Apple Studio Display have a similar design language as that super old monitor from almost 25 years ago.
Uh... I don't see it, myself
apple_cinema_display.jpg
apple-pro-display-xdr.jpg


Don’t get me wrong. I still quite like the current iMac design—it’s immediately recognizable yet nicely updated. But it’s inescapable the Studio Display could have been the bigger iMac Apple opted not to make. Hell, it could still be made into a form of new iMac Pro, but with a less insane price point.
I mean, I thought that was the generally agreed upon case. Personally, I've never really been a fan of the iMac line outside I suppose the original, so I don't see that as a problem, but either way wasn't it generally stated that the SD5K came about because they decided not to make it into an iMac? Or like, parts shortages or something.​
 
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Zest28

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Uh... I don't see it, myself
apple_cinema_display.jpg
apple-pro-display-xdr.jpg



I mean, I thought that was the generally agreed upon case. Personally, I've never really been a fan of the iMac line outside I suppose the original, so I don't see that as a problem, but either way wasn't it generally stated that the SD5K came about because they decided not to make it into an iMac? Or like, parts shortages or something.​

image.jpeg


Make the bezels black and you can see that the Apple Cinema Display from 25 years ago has the same design language as the Apple Studio Display and Pro XDR.

And the Apple Cinema Display wasn't thin either.
 

lepidotós

macrumors 6502a
Aug 29, 2021
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Marinette, Arizona
View attachment 2176155

Make the bezels black and you can see that the Apple Studio Display and Pro XDR have the same design language.

And the Apple Cinema Display wasn't thin either.
Those aluminum ones came out in 2004, 19 years ago. After the switch to aluminum in 2003, which would be a fair point that there hasn't really been a change in look since then (although, the excising of a translucent acrylic layer over white polycarbonate a la iMac G5 was a shift as well). The one I posted was the one that released in 1999.​
 

Zest28

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Those aluminum ones came out in 2004, 19 years ago. The one I posted was the one that released in 1999.

I see. Well, wikipedia was a bit unclear from what year that picture was. But in the end, the year doesn't matter. The important thing to see is that the Pro XDR and Apple Studio Display looks like the older Apple displays.
 

Yebubbleman

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wasn't it generally stated that the SD5K came about because they decided not to make it into an iMac? Or like, parts shortages or something.

Nope. At least, none that I recall. Pretty sure Apple always intended to go the Mac Studio route as the 27-inch iMac replacement. Honestly, it really makes a ton of sense and it's way better this way overall.


View attachment 2176155

Make the bezels black and you can see that the Apple Cinema Display from 25 years ago has the same design language as the Apple Studio Display and Pro XDR.

And the Apple Cinema Display wasn't thin either.

I miss the days of the Apple Store looking like that.
 

lepidotós

macrumors 6502a
Aug 29, 2021
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Marinette, Arizona
Nope. At least, none that I recall. Pretty sure Apple always intended to go the Mac Studio route as the 27-inch iMac replacement. Honestly, it really makes a ton of sense and it's way better this way overall.
Certainly, I just felt like I'd heard that somewhere but talk is cheap I guess. I'm not gonna complain about a less wasteful option winning out over a more wasteful one... even if both are still unnecessarily wasteful options thanks to soldered/proprietary SSDs and RAM (Power10 gets 818GB/s memory bandwidth with socketed OMI memory and Ampere Altra gets ~230GB/s with DDR4 ECC sticks; unified memory only really speeds up CPU-to-GPU transfers and not memory bandwidth or speed).​
 

Yebubbleman

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Certainly, I just felt like I'd heard that somewhere but talk is cheap I guess. I'm not gonna complain about a less wasteful option winning out over a more wasteful one... even if both are still unnecessarily wasteful options thanks to soldered/proprietary SSDs and RAM (Power10 gets 818GB/s memory bandwidth with socketed OMI memory and Ampere Altra gets ~230GB/s with DDR4 ECC sticks; unified memory only really speeds up CPU-to-GPU transfers and not memory bandwidth or speed).​
You'll never hear me praise soldered on RAM (let alone un-upgradeable RAM on the chip package) nor storage (let alone storage wherein the SoC is also the SSD controller). That all being said, Apple did prepare us for this with 2016-2020 Intel MacBook Pros as well as 2018-2020 Intel MacBook Airs. Not saying that makes it any better. But at least we're used to it now?
 

okkibs

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Sep 17, 2022
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Most other monitors (whatever interface they use) have upgradeable firmware.
I never had to think about that with any monitor whatsoever, it comes with whatever factory firmware was installed and works from day one exactly the same way for the 8-10 years I keep it. The Studio Display already had audio issues with some Mac models that Apple had to address with a firmware update. That should answer your question of why anyone would need up upgrade the firmware, because the monitor will have bugs, and when you buy a new Mac years down the road and connect the monitor you might find a new bug that may or may not get addressed later.

Since the firmware is installed through regular MacOS updates, I'd expect these to be automated. Perhaps you have a perfectly working monitor and one of these upgrades introduces a bug or straight up bricks the monitor, just like Monterey bricked some 2015 MBPs when it first came out and Apple quoted them full pricing for a logic board replacement that makes no economic sense on a six year old device.

The initial Studio Display firmware didn't even allow for brightness change under Windows until firmware 15.4 fixed that. Currently Apple is offering a beta (!) firmware 16.4 and nobody knows what it's going to change about the display's behaviour or in what tech hellscape we are that we would need beta firmware upgrades for a monitor. All of it shows that Apple can't deliver a bug-free high-end pro product out of the box, and how the firmware upgrade feature is now abused to let the customer beta test a product for full price.

If a monitor doesn't work flawlessly from day one, I return it, I don't wait for an upgrade that might or might not resolve the issue later. If the issues remain unresolved for multiple months Apple won't accept a return anymore. Even worse, I have no guarantee that a Mac I buy in a decade can still connect to the display without any issues. Perhaps Apple has moved it to "vintage" status in the meantime and stopped fixing issues.

I don't want this extra complexity, whether calling it iOS is wrong or not is beside the point. Even though something like a cinema display only had a single port as well, at least it adhered to the DVI standard in the way that I can plug it into any compatible graphics card, whereas with USB-C monitors it is a fact that the Studio Monitor already had issues previously even with Apple's own computers. Playing audio through monitor speakers should not be something that can be broken in the first place.
 

theluggage

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You'll never hear me praise soldered on RAM (let alone un-upgradeable RAM on the chip package) nor storage (let alone storage wherein the SoC is also the SSD controller).
I do take issue with the unnecessary use of soldered-on DDR4 RAM in some Intel machines - but since Apple has moved entirely to low-power LPDDR RAM, having it socketed is simply not an option - LPDDR has to be surface-mounted with the tracks to the CPU kept as short as possible. Mounting it on the SoC potentially improves performance even more. The problem is that Apple nickel-and-dimes customers with pathetically small standard RAM capacities and over-priced upgrades - less than 16GB, and 256GB of SSD (that knobbles performance by only using half the bandwidth) in a $1300 laptop is ridiculous. SSD and RAM, even the higher-end sort that Apple uses, just isn't that expensive these days. 16GB and a 1TB SSD shouldn't be expensive luxuries that people have to agonise over when spending over $1000 on a machine.

Having the SSD controller on the SoC is a non issue - there's no reason why the controller is particularly likely to fail, and having everything integrated on one die is probably more reliable & faster. That said having the flash - which dies after a finite number of writes - soldered on to the logic board is ridiculous. One of the reasons I went for the Mac Studio was repairability (you may not be able to upgrade the SSD - yet - but if it fails it can be replaced like-for-like).

It's certainly not all sunny on the Apple side of the street, but with Apple Silicon we seem to be getting performance & power consumption payoffs from some of these compromises.

I never had to think about that with any monitor whatsoever, it comes with whatever factory firmware was installed and works from day one exactly the same way for the 8-10 years I keep it.
Lucky you. Reality is that there are firmware updates out there for many third party displays. I'm sure there are Dell and Samsung user forums out there where you'll find plenty of discussion about new firmware and bugs (and if you do need to upgrade a 3rd party peripheral's firmware, don't be too surprised if you have to find a Windows machine to run the updater...).

Apple is offering a beta (!) firmware 16.4 and nobody knows what it's going to change about the display's behaviour or in what tech hellscape we are that we would need beta firmware upgrades for a monitor.
Beta firmware is for people who want to do beta testing - if you didn't hang out on MacRumors you wouldn't know such a thing existed.

Since the firmware is installed through regular MacOS updates, I'd expect these to be automated.

Time will tell on that one - AFAIK it hasn't happened so far. Personally I wouldn't install system updates automatically anyway without at least a cursory check as to what was involved.
 

Yebubbleman

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Having the SSD controller on the SoC is a non issue - there's no reason why the controller is particularly likely to fail, and having everything integrated on one die is probably more reliable & faster. That said having the flash - which dies after a finite number of writes - soldered on to the logic board is ridiculous. One of the reasons I went for the Mac Studio was repairability (you may not be able to upgrade the SSD - yet - but if it fails it can be replaced like-for-like).

The only drawback to the SSD controller being on the SoC is that the drives, even if they weren't soldered onto the logic board, are not portable. On T2 and Apple Silicon Macs where the NAND is removable (iMac Pro, 2019 Mac Pro, 4TB and 8TB models of 2020 27-inch iMac [sorta], and Mac Studio), it's useless until it's reinitialized in another Mac via Apple Configurator 2. That and any data recovery that you could've done prior to the T2 and Apple Silicon is more or less impossible in the name of security. Sure, that forces people to be cognizant of whether or not their data is backed up. But most people still aren't and this makes it easier for them to lose their data.

It's certainly not all sunny on the Apple side of the street, but with Apple Silicon we seem to be getting performance & power consumption payoffs from some of these compromises.

They put us through the T2 era to prepare us for how things are. And, for how annoying the T2 chip is, I'm happier that we're past that, despite the other things that I miss about the Intel Mac era (and some of the T2 Macs therein).


That's worse, isn't it?

It definitely is. But, being an Apple customer requires that we be tolerant of things that Apple decides. I'll never be fully okay with that and that's where the Android and Windows devices help my sanity. But it's also the case that my personal needs as a Mac user in the Apple Silicon era don't go much past either a decked out (meaning beefed up RAM and Storage capacities) 13-inch MacBook Pro or a decked out 14-inch MacBook Pro with whatever the binned Mx Pro SoC on offer happens to be at that time. My consulting tech needs will never go beyond whatever the base model Apple Silicon MacBook Air happens to be (and it's not like I need to update those until things really get different). This is a far cry from during the Intel era where it was always either the higher-end iMac or the larger MacBook Pro.
 
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