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Apple’s Studio Display has a weird amount of storage

When Apple unveiled the Studio Display at its Peek Performance event, it revealed that the monitor contained an A13 Bionic chip that enabled “amazing experiences” like Center Stage and Spatial Audio. Yet one unusual detail has just been revealed about the monitor: It also has 64GB of onboard storage.

This eyebrow-raising tidbit was noticed by enterprising iOS developer Khaos Tian on Twitter, who found the 64GB figure somewhat amusing. Interestingly, it’s the same amount of storage and the same chip as you’ll find in the entry-level iPad and iPhone 11.

A person works at a station equipped with the all new Mac Studio and Studio Display.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

You might be feeling a little baffled at this point. Why would a monitor need any storage, never mind 64GB of the stuff? Well, the answer lies in some of the Studio Display’s key features.

One of them is Center Stage, which crops the picture of your video calls so that you’re always in the middle of the frame — even if you move around — and this automatically adjusts to include new people who enter the shot. The other feature used by the storage is the Studio Display’s Spatial Audio, which creates what Apple calls a “truly cinematic viewing experience” by virtually enveloping you with audio.

lol Studio Display has 64GB onboard storage?!

— Khaos Tian (@KhaosT) March 21, 2022

To make all that work, the Studio Display needs storage space to keep the code and algorithms used by these features. But why 64GB? After all, the Twitter user who discovered the amount of storage space noted that only around 2GB is actually being used. Surely 64GB is ridiculous overkill?

The answer might lie in the economies of scale surrounding the A13 Bionic chip nestled inside the Studio Display. Apple already has the processes in place to make the A13 Bionic, which came paired with 64GB of storage in entry-level devices. Tweaking it to work with smaller amounts of storage, while perhaps more appropriate to the Studio Display, would likely require costly production changes to make the chip’s storage controller compatible.

Previously, rumors abounded that Apple was planning on embedding an A13 Bionic chip into an unrevealed monitor, although those early rumors made no mention of the on-board storage. The company could also be working on bringing its own chips to other displays in the future, so it will be interesting to see if the storage situation remains the same there.

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