Apple announced today a $1,599 display with a CPU, high-quality speakers, a microphone array, a high-quality camera, three USB-C connections, and 96 watts of Thunderbolt power delivery. Oh, and there’s a screen on it, too.
The Cupertino business has a strange and tumultuous history with displays, developing and then abandoning a slew of them over the years. With incredibly lengthy update cycles, poor specs, and exorbitant costs, the Apple Cinema Display and the Thunderbolt Display both raised their collective heads above the parapets, only to be banished to oblivion. Apple’s Pro Display XDR was released a few years ago, and while it boasted a spec sheet that included a 32-inch Retina 6K resolution and ultra-high contrast, it also came with a price tag of $4,999 for the standard glass version, and $5,999 for the nano-texture glass version that reduces reflections.
The Apple Studio Display is geared at a particular demographic, and its $1,599 price tag isn’t exactly cheap, but it accomplishes a significant task. When used with the newly released Mac Studio, the screen is finally decoupled from the computer. It’s about damn time for a firm that likes to brag about its environmental prowess… The number of iMacs I’ve had to sell because the processor is as slow as winter molasses yet the screen is still in excellent condition has been a source of endless irritation. It’s been a long time coming to be able to upgrade simply the screen or just the brains of a workstation while remaining within the Apple ecosystem.
On paper, the new display looks wonderfully stunning. It comes with a 12MP ultra-wide camera that supports “center stage,” which means it can follow you around the room as you pace around giving Steve Jobs-style keynotes. It’s the same camera that’s been used in Apple’s iPads. It has a three-microphone array that produces crisper audio than ever before, and it can use filtering technology to decrease the audio you don’t want to hear. It comes with a six-speaker sound system that Apple calls “the greatest speakers we’ve ever supplied.” Because of the built-in processor, the display can divide out multi-channel surround sound and provide a more immersive experience than if you merely plugged in a pair of stereo speakers. With Dolby Atmos, the system also enables spatial audio for audio and music.
The display has a three-port USB-C hub that runs at 10 Mbps for connecting high-speed accessories like hard drives and recording equipment, as well as a Thunderbolt port that can offer 96W of power, allowing you to charge the whole Apple laptop lineup directly from your display.
Oh, and there’s a screen, too. It has a 27-inch 5K retina display with 600 nits of brightness and a color palette that is extra-wide. Its specifications appear to be disturbingly comparable to those of current-generation iMacs. The screen has an all-aluminum shell, and Nano glass, which eliminates reflections, as well as numerous stands and mounting choices, including a VESA mount option, are available as options.
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