Studio Display teardown makes me wish Apple just made a new iMac

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A few enterprising – and brave – folks have started opening up Apple’s new Studio Display, and the guts reveal a complex device that’s much more than a standard monitor.

Apple has put a lot of Studio Display’s advanced smart features like Siri virtual assistant support and AI-powered webcam in an attempt to justify its hefty $1,599 (£1,499 / AU$2,499) price tag, and these teardowns, showing us the kind of technology that’s behind the screen reveal just how complex the device actually is.

Mac Rumors points out that the bottom-right logic board hosts the A13 Bionic chip — the same one found in iPads and iPhones, and used for the AI ​​functions. Interestingly, there also appears to be 64GB of flash storage. This is a hefty amount of storage space for a monitor (which usually comes with… well, none), and is the same amount found in entry-level iPhones and iPads.

Although we now know that the Studio Display runs on iOS 15.4, it is not immediately clear what the 64 GB of storage is for. The inside of the Studio Display also shows two large fans to keep it cool (again, quite rare for a monitor), along with six speakers, similar to those found in the 24-inch iMac.

The iFixit website is also in the process of tearing down the Studio Display, and while it’s still going on, we’ve gotten another glimpse of the inside of the monitor. The iFixit team is known for their in-depth look at devices, focusing specifically on how easy-to-repair products are — something Apple’s devices are usually hated for.

At least these first glimpses of the Studio Display show that Apple has put some interesting technology into the display, but it also left me feeling like a missed opportunity.

Analysis: Why not just make a 27-inch iMac?

(Image credit: Apple)

When Apple unveiled the Studio Display and new Mac Studio in early March, many people wondered why not just make a 27-inch iMac? After all, in some ways the Studio Display feels like an iMac without the Mac bit.

However, these teardowns show that this may have been a bigger missed opportunity than previously thought. After all, if Apple put so much technology into a display, including storage and fans, couldn’t it also have added an M1 chip and memory and made a new iMac?!

Ok, maybe it’s not that simple, but the hard truth is that the Studio Display is a rather disappointing device that doesn’t offer the performance or value that would make it a worthwhile purchase. If Apple had released a new M1-powered 27-inch iMac, I think it would have been received much more warmly, especially since Apple has now discontinued the previous 27-inch iMac.

For people who want an Apple all-in-one with a 27-inch screen instead of a 24-inch, you’re out of luck. Unfortunately, the Studio Display with a Mac Studio or Mac mini connected is not a decent replacement.

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