The New Standard: Apple Displays

With the release of Apple’s new Studio Display, the new creative standard may be here. Are the specs and price good enough?

It’s no secret that Apple’s Cinema and Thunderbolt displays have been missed. In some cases, they are still a staple across offices and studios. The 2011 Thunderbolt display was never replaced through the 2010s – by Apple or otherwise. By now, brands are refusing to show their product on any other display.

Remember when OS X became the standard for creatives? Connections like Firewire and Thunderbolt were industry standards. Final Cut 7 was a standard, and ProRes still dominates today (sorry, DNxHR).

Whether or not the popularity holds, Apple tech has definitely been a fan favorite of creative industries. Now that their M1 chips are so powerful and so focused on creative work, I think we’ll begin to see more Mac-based industry standards.

Apple is homogenizing its lineup of monitors under "XDR" and "Retina" displays.

Consistency

Production pipelines won’t often use expensive reference monitors all the way through. Whether it’s for photography, graphical, or videography purposes, sometimes, the client approves content on their smartphone, or the editorial team doesn't work with color-critical monitors.

Having the consistency of Apple displays has really helped. Personally, I’ve been relieved to know that a client is using an iMac to watch my content. At least the iMac I test the footage with won’t look wildly different than the client’s. Let’s face it, ProRes’ gamma problems are more likely to cause a color issue for me.

The gap in the market is getting plugged, as Apple is finally competing in this space again. It has potential for a new industry standard. At the very least, this can only be a good thing for consistency between creatives.

Cost

The Thunderbolt Display cost $999 in 2011. That’s about $1,260 in today’s dollars. Then LG’s Ultrafine 5K display was selling in Apple stores for $1,299. Now, Apple is asking for at least $1,599 for their new Studio Display.

The latest iMac’s screen is basically a shrunken version of the Studio Display, and you can get a whole iMac for $1,299. Maybe this could be a cheaper option with Sidecar (like Target Display mode in the 2010s). Nonetheless, the Studio Display could have a friendlier price.

I think Apple’s Pro XDR Display is priced competitively for professional use. The Studio Display will need to be noticeably better than the competition to become an industry standard. $1,599 is not an everyday person’s monitor.

Nonetheless, if the Studio Display behaves similarly to Apple’s current line of displays (laptop and desktop), it will become part of an industry standard. The M1 hype is real, and I can see these monitors flooding the creative market alongside it.

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20 Comments
Reginald Walton's picture

Well,I wouldn't call an overpriced monitor with a mediocre webcam the standard. Now maybe their tables and/or watches and phones, but definitely not the monitors.

Tony Clark's picture

I may be an Apple fan but I don't see the latest display as the standard, I definitely think that it's overpriced by $500. Just because it has an Apple logo doesn't mean it's the standard.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Standard? No. I think monitors costing about $1000 (or less) is the standard.

Jiří Alexander Bednář's picture

EIZO for similar price is standard (i am a photographer), not this overpriced shiny without hood thing.

Roger Cozine's picture

Typical Apple hype, Paying more for less. For less than 1k, you can get a far (far) better monitor that is brighter, and offers full Adobe RGB/SRGB compliance.

Lee Christiansen's picture

Eizo sets the standard. Everything else just chases in its shadow.

Jim Tincher's picture

Since it no longer comes with a computer, the monitor should be no more than $800.00.

miha zero's picture

"I think Apple’s Pro XDR Display is priced competitively for professional use. The Studio Display will need to be noticeably better than the competition to become an industry standard. $1,599 is not an everyday person’s monitor."

Its good piece of journalism when article says "I THINK" ... Article should be objective and informative, not biased and pushing agenda.

Also Apple is not what it used to be, people are no longer sheep's looking their latest apple fix.

Or in words of some internet car buying aficionado "How much is this 500$ monitor?"

Nacona Nix's picture

Is there another monitor with similar specs but with the glass/glossy screen style Apple opts for? I'd buy one in a heartbeat, but nearly EVERYTHING out there is matte.

Richard King's picture

Eizo with a hood and a matt screen and built in hardware calibration... that's a standard.

the apple screens look pretty, but pretty does not trump quality, accuracy and dependability

dale clark's picture

Don't forget NEC. I have a Multisync monitor and it has been a workhorse for years. I did stop using the hood.

Michael Steinbach's picture

I just wasted 5 whole minutes reading this nonsense.

Anthony Stephens's picture

And yet another minute posting about it. You could have at least saved that minute of your life. LOL

Michael Steinbach's picture

And where's the fun in that?😏

Ken Hilts's picture

"Remember when OS X became the standard for creatives?"
No.

Jim Bolen's picture

I'm starting to wonder if Fstoppers gets financial support from Apple.

Tony Clark's picture

Lee just bought a new MBP and he's given his thoughts in a previous video. You can't read a couple reviews and come to your own conclusions on gear?

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

In case it matters to some folks, the standard stand is not height adjustable. But, wouldn't you know it, they have an option for a height adjustable for only $400 more bringing the price to $1999. And, what the pretty little images (from adverts and fanboys) don't show is the power cord is basically permanently affixed to the back.

Tony Clark's picture

I watched a video review of the Studio Display on MacRumors yesterday, it is removable. Not sure why it matters, I've owned my Cinema Display for years and never needed to remove it even when I take it on location for a shoot.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

LOL!, Sure it's removable, if you yank on it or use a special tool. However, for all practical purposes, it is not removal.

And, per Apple, "Note: The power cord is not removable."

https://support.apple.com/guide/studio-display/important-handling-inform...

What it takes to remove:

https://youtu.be/E75mtGjDRRI?t=1674