Apple’s new Studio Display is incredibly impressive in more ways than one. And while some early reviews note that other excellent monitors are available for less, there are some things that make Studio Display completely unique.
Not only is it powered by an A13 Bionic chip, for instance, but Studio Display runs iOS 15.4. No, not a watered-down version of it, but exactly the same iOS 15.4 build that you have installed on your iPhone and iPad. You just can’t use it.
Studio Display is exciting on the inside
It’s easy to see why reviewers are divided over Studio Display. Its 27-inch LCD panel is great but not spectacular, missing features like ProMotion and HDR. But its design is outstanding, and it does things other monitors don’t.
Studio Display has an impressive six-speaker audio system — better than any third-party monitor’s — and three microphones baked right in. It also has a 12-megapixel webcam, which, despite needing some fixes, is nice to have.
But it’s arguably even more exciting on the inside.
Powered by iOS 15.4
Studio Display’s A13 Bionic chip, which seems incredibly overkill for a monitor, serves a number of important purposes. It handles image processing for the built-in camera, as well as features like spatial audio. It also runs iOS 15.4.
John Gruber of Daring Fireball discovered that you can check Studio Display’s firmware version within System Information on a connected Mac. You’ll find it under the Graphics/Displays section.
“There, you can see that not only does the Studio Display run iOS, it literally runs iOS 15.4,” Gruber noted. Its software carries the build number 19E241 — “the same build number as iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4.”
Sadly, you can’t use it in the same way. While it would be an excellent feature, there’s no way to activate an iOS or iPadOS mode that allows you to use Studio Display like a giant iPad with a keyboard and mouse attached. Maybe one day.
On that webcam …
Gruber also provides some interesting updates on Studio Display’s webcam — one of the things that many reviewers really weren’t happy with.
“Multiple little birdies familiar with the Studio Display, each birdie independent of the others, tell me that the image quality problems really are a software problem,” Gruber wrote. “A bug introduced at the last minute.”
“A future software update might not merely somewhat improve image quality, but raise it to a level commensurate with the iPad models equipped with the same camera” — like the new iPad Air and last year’s iPad Pro models.
There’s still no word on when a software update that fixes its early teething troubles will be available, however.