Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Mac Studio

Apple:

Apple today introduced Mac Studio and Studio Display, an entirely new Mac desktop and display designed to give users everything they need to build the studio of their dreams. A breakthrough in personal computing, Mac Studio is powered by M1 Max and the new M1 Ultra, the world’s most powerful chip for a personal computer. It is the first computer to deliver an unprecedented level of performance, an extensive array of connectivity, and completely new capabilities in an unbelievably compact design that sits within arm’s reach on the desk. […]

The evolution of this family of systems-on-chips is getting hard for me to fully understand. My background is digital design, so I spend a lot of time in Sketch, Photoshop, and Illustrator; I am also a front-end developer, so I use software like Nova, too. I dabble in a light video and photo editing, and I write. It is a boring workflow that has not meaningfully changed in years for someone with my lightweight needs. My 2017 iMac works fine for these needs.

I appreciated the video from today’s announcement showing what these M1 Ultra processors are capable of, because it put it into terms I can understand. It seems the fluidity of my comparative undemanding workflow is now being experienced in the motion graphics and 3D rendering world. Even with my limited knowledge, that is wild.

It was the Studio Display that also impressed me most. It truly feels like a spiritual successor to the Thunderbolt Display, one of my all-time favourite products. It is hugely expensive, but probably seems reasonably priced because the only other 5K display worth considering, the LG UltraFine 5K, is just $300 less expensive. The 4K version of that same display is $700, which makes me think the 5K model costs $1,300 because LG had no competition.

So what do you get for the $300 premium over the LG? An aluminum enclosure and stand, an A13 chip for features like Centre Stage, and an I/O package that allows it to be a complete docking station for laptops as far back as the 2016 MacBook Pro. I know it is expensive, but this seems like an attainable dream display for me.

I am looking forward to seeing the reviews of these products from people who can actually push their capabilities as intended.

So, how did I do in my Sunday speculation post? Well, the Mac Studio does not replace the Mac Mini. I dramatically underestimated the kind of product this would be. But my guesses at the end of the post about Apple’s displays are looking alright. The Studio Display is, contrary to rumours, a 5K resolution model that augmented the display lineup rather than replacing the Pro Display XDR. But kudos must go to Filipe Espósito at 9to5Mac: the name and the A13 SoC were correct.

Remember how, about five years ago, being a Mac user felt like a risky proposition? Remember how it felt like Apple did not care much for desktop computers or laptops? The last couple of years have flipped that impression on its head like nothing I can remember. What a great time to be a Mac user.