The new Apple Studio Display is great news, but it is frankly about time. Until now, the only monitor made by Apple has been the monster-sized and monster-priced 32-inch Pro Display XDR – which might be fine for design studios and pro filmmakers, but completely out of the ballpark for regular users.
So the Apple Studio Display is no bargain either, but at £1,599 / $1,899 (about AU$2,600), it is at least within reach. It also addresses a huge blind spot in Apple’s product line-up which I can’t believe has been left wide open for so long.
You buy a Mac Mini, you need a screen
So picture this. You walk into an Apple Store and head straight for the Mac Mini counter to pick up an M1 Mac Mini, perhaps the most tempting compact desktop computer on the market right now. Fine, but you’ll also need a screen.
Not just any old screen. You’ll need one that reflects the design and display quality of Apple’s Retina displays, as used in MacBooks and iMacs, right?
Well, there isn’t one. It’s the same if you get a MacBook, intending to hook it up to a larger, better monitor when you are at your desk. Apple doesn’t sell them in the store and doesn’t even recommend third-party screens. You’re on your own.
That, to me, is madness. It’s the one thing that’s stopped me swapping my five-year-old iMac for a Mini – and stops me recommending the Mini to friends, even though it’s probably the best computer for them to buy right now.
What displays will suit a Mac?
So it sounds easy enough – you go shopping with Dell, or BenQ or Samsung or a bunch of other monitors makers to get a third-party screen. And that’s when you realise how much these darned things cost.
Our guide to the best monitors for Mac mini has a couple of cheaper alternatives, but if you want Retina-quality resolution it means getting a big screen, and that really pushes up the price. Suddenly the new Apple Studio Display doesn’t look that expensive any more – not when you compare the specs.
Now we need a cheaper Apple Studio Display
The Apple Studio Display looks like a seriously good monitor at a not-outrageous price for what it does. But it stills costs more than your Mac Mini and, quite possibly, than your MacBook or iMac.
So what if, pleeeease, Apple were to take the rather excellent screen from the 24-inch M1 iMac and package it up as an Apple Studio MINI DISPLAY? It looks like that shouldn’t cost more than $1,000 tops, and would wipe the floor with most third-party 4K 24-inch screens out there right now.
If Tim Cook doesn’t phone me up this afternoon to thank me, I’ll be gutted.