Apple Studio Display Features a Broken Webcam, Proprietary Power Cable, 64GB of Storage
Apple is a company that is known for taking its time when creating new products, sometimes taking years to get something just right. That’s what is supposedly happening with the company’s AR/VR headset, and its rumored electric car. The company reportedly worked on the recently released Mac Studio for five years. And yet, the Mac Studio itself is a Small Form Factor (SFF) PC, which again, has been around forever. Apple’s flair for improving products is typically a good thing, but the company seems to have misfired with the new 5K Studio Display. but it doesn’t appear to be the case with its new 5K Studio Display. A fix for these problems is reportedly in development.
The most derided feature is the display’s webcam. On paper it sounds like it should be amazing. It’s a 12MP webcam with a fast f/2.4 maximum aperture powered by Apple’s A13 Bionic silicon. In the real world reviewers say it’s downright horrible. The Verge wrote, “it looks awful in good light and downright miserable in low light.” When it shared screenshots and diagnostics with Apple about the issue, the company confirmed it was “not behaving as expected.” Ars Technica added more detail, saying the problem is a software bug, and the company is working on a fix. Bugs happen, but it’s surprising to see an Apple product with such an egregious problem at launch.
Software bugs aside, it’s also become known the power cable comes pre-attached to the monitor. That’s a little odd, but what’s even stranger is you can’t remove the cable yourself. Or at least, Apple advises people they shouldn’t even attempt it. The support notes for the monitor include this line, “The power cord is not removable.” According to Apple Insider, the cable is a propriety Apple design due to how thin the display is. Apparently you can remove it, as Nilay Pitel himself demonstrated on Twitter, but you’re not supposed to. Instead, Apple created a special tool just to remove the power cable. It is essentially a wheel that grasps the cable and exerts pressure on it.
As if that wasn’t strange enough, KhaosT on Twitter discovered the Studio Display also comes with 64GB of storage. Now, it was known that the monitor was running iOS 15.4, so it makes sense that it needs some storage. But 64GB seems a bit unnecessary, especially because the monitor is only using 2GB of it, according to Apple Insider. The reason for this ridiculous allotment of memory seems to be Apple has a lot of 64GB chips lying around. It uses them in many products, from the AppleTV to the iPhone, so it was cheaper to go that route instead of making something new.
Obviously the Studio Display is a unique product, but not necessarily in a good way. Although reviewers have said it’s generally fine, it lacks advanced features one expects in a $1,599 monitor. Those features include a mini-LED panel, or even OLED, but it’s just a regular LCD. It also runs at a pedestrian 60Hz, which again is “fine” but you’d think Apple would have raised the bar a bit. Its Macbook Pros have both mini-LED panels with ProMotion 120Hz panels. Still, most reviewers did praise the monitor’s fabulous speaker system, and its generous I/O options. Also, though its price is reasonable compared to the $5,000 Pro Display XDR, it’s easy to run up the tab a bit. The “nano texture” coating is an extra $300, and the height-adjustable stand is another $400. With both of those you’re looking at a $2,200 for a 27″ 60HZ LCD panel. Even for diehard Apple fans, that seems like a bitter pill to swallow.