This is not a review of the recently released Apple Studio Display because I haven’t used one for any length of time nor have I even seen one in person.
This is a look at why I’m not going to be buying one for myself, even though I am sure it is a fantastic monitor.
If you’re looking for actual reviews why not check out:
Ready to dive into my mind? Buckle up, buttercup.
I work in widescreen
The Apple Studio Display is a 27 inch retina (i.e. super high def) display. I’m sure it is a great display because it is an improved version of the display on my 5K iMac… which itself is an awesome display.
An awesome display that I never use. In fact, I couldn’t wait to get it off my desk when my Mac Studio arrived (which I bought to replace the iMac).
Why don’t I use the awesome iMac display? Because many years ago at work we got widescreen curved monitors (32 inchers, I think) and I’ve never looked back. As soon as the pandemic started and it was clear I’d be working from home for the long haul I plunked down some of my hard earned cash for the Acer XR342CK Pbmiiqphuzx 34″ Curved QHD monitor.
Ultrawide monitors aren’t for everyone, but they are for me. I love being able to have a host of documents or browser windows open right next to each other, and it is really great for playing D&D via Zoom (admittedly a use case that isn’t applicable for everyone).
You can connect as many computers as you like, as long as it is one
I have a Surface Go, which is a little Windows computer I like very much. It is pretty slow, but I’ve found it is much peppier if you use an external monitor instead of the builtin display (don’t ask me why!). The other day I had need to spend several hours in MS Access (which is a phrase you’ll probably not read in any Apple Studio Display reviews) and I wanted to use my external monitor.
I thought to myself, “Sheesh, I guess I’ll need to get a KVM switch and hook that up to my monitor and then plug that into my iMac and Surface Go so I can switch back and forth.” Then I realized that my monitor has more than one input. I could connect TWO computers (more, actually) directly to the monitor and switch between the two.
This isn’t something you can do with an Apple Studio Display, and it is something I want to be able to do.
Webcam, more like Webcan’t
I don’t need, or really want, a built in webcam in my monitor. This is a big selling point for the Apple Studio Display, and I get it. For most folks it is a great thing to have (and Center Stage is really fantastic – we use it every day on our iPad Pro and love it).
For me, I use a fancy digital camera hooked up to my Mac with an HDMI to USB converter thingie. This is certainly not a “normal” setup, but for me it works… and means I don’t need that webcam.
One Cable to charge them all
One of the great things about Apple’s displays is that they have long included an integrated charger for your laptop. There was a time when this was amazing. Nowadays this is expected, and better yet that same power cable also functions as the only connection you need for the monitor. This is true for Apple displays… and for every other USB-C display out there (like my very well named Acer monitor).
I can adjust my monitor without spending $400
My Acer monitor cost me $650, which was a great deal. When I look at the specs of the Apple Studio Display I think the $1600 isn’t outrageous. In fact, I think it is a good price for the caliber of monitor you’re getting.
However, if you want to be able to adjust the height of that monitor you’ll need to spend $400(!) extra in order to get the “tilt – and height-adjustable stand.” My $650 monitor included such a stand as a standard option, and I think it is highway robbery for Apple to sell this monitor without a height adjustable stand and then make it such a ridiculous upcharge.
I think you’ll be seeing something like this on a lot of Apple Studio Display users’ desks:
Should you get one?
I don’t know. I will say that I probably would have bought one for Marisa instead of the Dell UltraSharp 27 4K we got her (though that monitor is also fully adjustable).
If your needs are exactly like mine, you totally shouldn’t buy one.
If you can afford one and use a Mac laptop, it is probably the best display available for you.
What was the point of all this? What’s the point of anything, man?