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Mac execs call $1,599 Studio Display ‘very accessible’

The Studio Display has been receiving mixed reviews since its release, specifically around it’s $1,499 price. But when discussing the Studio Display in a recent interview, Apple executives described the display as “very accessible, very mainstream.”

Tom Boger, VP of Mac and iPad product marketing; Shelly Goldberg, senior director of Mac and iPad product design; and Xander Soren, the Pro Apps product marketing boss were recently interviewed by TechCrunch about the Mac Studio and Studio Display. Beyond the notes about the intention of the Studio Display, it’s an interesting talk and an intriguing look into why Apple made some of their design choices.

The Mac Studio at Apple's Peek Performance event.

For example, the Mac Studio was meant to be a sort of middle ground between the MacBook Pro and the Mac Pro (despite the Mac Studio being more powerful for now). Boger noted that, while some customers prefer the portability of the MacBook Pro, others preferred a more permanent desktop setup. Also, despite the Mac Studio looking like a Mac Mini on steroids, that wasn’t the actual goal.

“Our philosophy was not at all to take a Mac mini and scale it up, it was ‘we know we’re working on this M1 chip and we want to bring it to those users who want performance and conductivity and a modular system,’” said Boger. “And let’s allow it to live right on people’s desks so it’s within easy reach.”

On the one hand, Apple’s Mac Studio is the result of the negative feedback from frustrated professionals who could not use previous generations of Macs due to lack of performance. Apple issued a rare apology five years ago and promised to cater to pro users with the 2019 Mac Pro iteration. On the other hand, professionals aren’t likely to be wowed by Apple’s Studio Display due to lack of performance.

Sporting an A13 Bionic chip, Apple’s new Studio Display was supposed to be a jump up from the previous LG UltraFine 5K display, but it ended up not being as “pro” as many wanted it to be. Missing features and poor webcam performance has marred what could’ve been Apple’s finest hour, especially considering how impressive the Mac Studio’s performance has been.

The interview reveals the discrepancy in perception between what Apple sees as an accessible alternative to the Pro Display XDR and what the average Mac buyer thinks.

“We wanted it to be a great, very accessible, very mainstream display for all of our Mac users,” Boger explains. “It’s a great display if you want to hook up to the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, Mac Studio, Mac Pro, whatever. And we know that there are still users out there who are using Intel-based Macs, and so putting A13 in there processes the audio for Spatial Audio and makes the magic of Center Stage happen. While the Pro Display XDR is an amazing display and, we feel, the best display for pros anywhere – there are also millions of users out there that wanted Apple to offer a mainstream display for whatever Mac they’re on.”

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David Matthews
David is a freelance journalist based just outside of Washington D.C. specializing in consumer technology and gaming. He has…
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