Apple is now in the business of giving it’s customers what they actually want, as has often been pointed out by my colleagues since the Apple March event earlier this week. The show, unveiled under the moniker “peek performance”, was highlighted by the unveiling of the new Apple Studio Display along with the Mac Studio (Desktop), in both M1 Max and M1 Ultra configurations.
Other new products announced were the new iPhone SE 3, iPad Air 5. The demise of the iMac 27” (2020) was also quietly acknowledged.
The very big news was the apple silicon powered desktop duo. Most remarkable is the pattern that seems to be emerging at Apple. Instead of forging ahead with features and formats that are either out of reach of the masses, or just not what we have most devoutly wished for, they appear to be in full-on genie-mode and are granting wishes at an industrial clip.
Suddenly, the much maligned slogan for the iPhone 13 Pro, Oh So Pro, does not seem ludicrous anymore. Armed with an Iphone 13 Pro Max, a MacBook Pro 16 and the new Mac Studio ensemble, anyone would identify with that somewhat haughty designation; your motto could truthfully be Oh. So. Pro.
The Mac Studio Desktop M1 Max and Studio Desktop M1 Ultra versions are a case in point.
The biggest wish fulfillment dream come true is that this machine can be configured at the low end as an amazingly affordable stand-alone workstation, which with the addition of a non-apple monitor (that you may already have, for example) puts you into a pro-performance class at under $2000.
This is nothing less than the holy grail of what many pro and semi-pro mac aficionados have been pining for for nearly decades. The entry level Mac Studio vs Mac Mini (with any monitor if on a budget), The Mac Studio vs iMac 27” (now discontinued as per above), Hell, even the The Mac Studio vs the MacBook Pro 16” with M1Max, these are all a huge win for the Studio Desktop if you factor in price and performance.
At the other end of the spectrum, if you have the cash, the full Mac Studio, including the Apple Studio Display is a Mac Pro killer in price and performance. Naturally there have already been rumors that the Mac Pro update is near at hand and even that a new monitor with similar features to the 32-inch Retina 6K Pro Display XDR ($6k) but at a price point well below that lofty sum.
By making the monitor optional this blows apart the tacit strategy that has been followed for decades – want the newest top performing machine ? Then you either buy an iMac Pro, the top of the line MacBook Pro (with integral screen costs) or win the lottery first to attain the cash for the Mac Pro / Pro Display XDR combo.
No more. At under Two Thousand smackers you can improvise a display which you compute your way to the cash needed to purchase the Apple Studio Display. Once you get there you will be able to luxuriate in the unbelievable sound system built in, featuring a three-microphone array as well as a six-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio support. You’ll also get your screen debut using the 12mp integrated “web-cam” with Center Stage enhancement, all provided courtesy of the built-in A13 Bionic chip.
This not-so-subtle shift is also made evident by the plethora of ports and configuration options that make the system, how ever you choose to build it, very user friendly in terms of matching the budget to the tasks you plan to undertake with your prize.
The even bigger picture is the way that the entire product line from Apple is benefitting from the unique “whole-widget-strategy” first laid out by Steve Jobs. Since the introduction of Apple Silicon, first in iOS devices and now across the entire Apple ecosystem, there has been a massive acceleration of improved performance (peek performance indeed). Expect this trend to intensify as the migration continues alongside the eventual total integration of iOS and MacOS software.
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