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When Apple debuted its new Studio Display at its Peek Performance event, the $1,599 starting price tag seemed like a relatively good bargain. After all, the company's previous stand-alone Pro Display XDR launched at an eye-watering $4,999, and that didn't even include the extra $999 Apple was charging for what was a fairly barebones stand.
Now that the industry has had a few days to let the new Studio Display's specs sink in, and to question Apple about a few things it didn't cover at the event, the new monitor may be looking like slightly less of a bargain.
Also: How to choose the right monitor layout for working from home
The first issue is with the starting price itself. That will only get you a standard version of the display on either a tilt-adjustable stand or with a VESA-compatible adapter that will require you to provide your own stand or arm. You can't have both without paying extra. The extremely basic stand can also be replaced by a "tilt- and height-adjustable stand," which adds an extra $400 to the price.
Of course, this is less than half of the aforementioned $999 stand mentioned above, but it's also an add-on for a monitor that costs barely over one-quarter of what the Pro Display XDR did. It also only gets you 30 degrees of tilt and 10.5cm of height adjustment.
To put this into a little more perspective, the most expensive arm produced by Ergotron for standard PC monitors is its LX Desk Monitor Arm, Tall Pole model, which offers two points of height adjustment (for 33cm of height range), three pivot points (2x360 degrees and 1x180 degrees), 75 degrees of tilt, and 360-degrees of rotation. It has an MSRP of $309 and can usually be purchased for closer to $250.
The only more expensive monitor arms offered by Ergotron are geared towards holding multiple monitors on a single arm or holding up massive super ultrawide displays, like Samsung's G9 Neo.
Let's say you're used to this sort of thing from past incidents like the Pro Display XDR, or the Mac Pro's infamous $700 wheel kit. So, you're willing to ignore the hard-to-justify upcharge of the height-adjustable stand. You should also know the new Studio Display will not support its full range of touted features if it's connected to a Windows PC.
Apple confirmed to MacRumors that certain aspects of the Studio Display will be disabled when connected to a Windows PC. Among them are any features that rely on the display's built-in A13 chip, including Spatial Audio and True Tone. This will significantly impact the audio quality output of the unit's six-speaker system and the visual accuracy of its color replication, two potentially big problems for the creatives the monitor is targeting.
Apple also told MacRumors that the "screen resolution on the Studio Display will vary from system to system."
Also: Apple's new Mac Studio: The Mac Mini grows up
On top of these noteworthy issues with the display itself, the built-in webcam will apparently offer only limited functionality for Windows PCs operating as a standard camera. Apple's Center Stage function, which allows the built-in cam to automatically adjust to multiple users' positions, won't work with anything but a Mac.
To be clear, none of these issues necessarily disqualify the Studio Display as a worthwhile purchase for your business or home setups. However, the lack of full Windows support means it should only really be considered for a workstation that relies entirely on Apple's own Mac hardware. Even then, potential buyers should know that they could actually end up spending as much as $2,299 on the display if they want access to its full range of adjustability and features like the Nano-Texture Glass to reduce glare.
For those that have taken all of these factors into account and made the well-informed decision to move forward with purchasing a Studio Display, they're up for pre-order now with an expected availability date of March 18.