Mac Studio rumors

So there have been a few rumors about a new desktop Mac situated between the $1k mini and the $6k MP. Sounds intriguing. Could this be part of the “peek” we’re getting on Tue?

I wonder especially what this would mean for the high-end mini expected to replace the Intel model (Mar 8 event?). Will there still be one? What will set the Mac studio apart form it? And what would the internals of this alleged Mac Studio tell us about what to expect for the 27" Apple Silicon-based iMac? (WWDC?)


I hope this does come true. If it does, I have a lot to consider between a Studio and a MacBook Pro. I don’t need to schlep a laptop around as much as I used to.

The only prognostication I don’t think will happen would be a new Intel Mac Pro. My thinking is that Apple has made it obvious for the last few years that they want to transition all their hardware to Apple silicon. The Mac Pro is the only Intel product left, and Apple is continually bragging about how super superior their M chips are, and that by far, they are the very, very best in the world. My guess is that Apple will knock down the price of the current Pro if they debut a new version, and price wise, a Mac Studio will sit somewhere below the current Pro.

I think that if there is the possibility that Apple might also release a super duper upgraded Pro display if they do upgrade the Pro. And I think the Mac Studio would be a very good idea.

There is indeed such a rumor alongside Mac Studio.

1 Like

I will be gobsmackingly pleasantly surpised if either of those two items comes out at a price anywhere near what mere mortals, who would like/need more grunt for what we do but aren’t using the items to generate mega-revenue, can afford.

:crazy_face: Gobit

Cheap isn’t in Apple’s vocabulary.

It’s usually only marketing/advertising folks that don’t understand that cheap and inexpensive aren’t the same thing.

If Apple made a 27" iMac Pro without the monitor (Mac Studio) they could sell it for substantially less than a MP, but still make far more money off it than a Mac mini. They’d open up lots of upsell opportunities to (semi-)pro users for which otherwise $6k computers (plus $400 wheels) and $5k screens (plus $1k stands) are simply out of reach.

If Apple made a 5K (or 7K?) panel at 27", IOW a 27" iMac without the iMac, they could easily sell that screen at twice what Dell et al. charge for 4K 27" displays. And at least in Mac land, people would be killing to get their hands on it. Count alone here on TidBITS how many people have asked for guidance as to getting a 5K screen that doesn’t suck. It’s not the $1200 price tag most people worry about, it’s simply the lack of any real good options. This would be a slam dunk for Apple. Good thing rumors inidcate they are working on exactly this. :+1:

1 Like

I already posted about monitor profit margins a few days ago in another thread. Profit margins are extremely important key performance indicators, and profit margins for freestanding displays have historically been very extremely low. Advertising, marketing and sales professionals are extremely focused on cognizant about market conditions and profitability, as well what makes them tick.

LG’s Display net profit margin as of September 30, 2021 is 5.74%

LG Display Profit Margin 2006-2021 | LPL

Current and historical gross margin, operating margin and net profit margin for LG Display (LPL) over the last 10 years. Profit margin can be defined as the percentage of revenue that a company retains as income after the deduction of expenses. LG…

CNBC – 28 Apr 21

Apple just recorded a 42.5% gross margin for the quarter, the highest in nine…

Long stuck at around 38%, Apple’s gross margin has jumped the past two quarters because of more expensive iPhones and a growing services portfolio.

I also recently ranted about this here in another thread…Apple already build screens into iMacs, iPhones, iPads, and Watches. They would not have any problem building a line of freestanding monitors if they thought it would be profitable. So far, the only freestanding screen they build is primarily targeted to a very tiny, high end market segment, and it is at level that the existing and highly flooded monitor line up has not yet addressed.

Apple products and services are neither cheap or inexpensive; to lump them together would be redundant, in addition to sounding pretentious.

If you’re waiting for Apple to price something reasonably, it’s going to be a long wait.

1 Like

I did say afford, not cheap. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

If cheap were the criterion there’s no way I’d be a 20+ year Mac user. Sadly, from my perspective, Apple’s pricing in recent times is more and more aimed at those able to afford ultra-high-end fashion (I’m not begrudging people who are at that end of the market) or at people using the gear to generate 9-digit income streams.

Re the latter, as Adam points out here: Apple: Design Macs for Other Types of Professionals - TidBITS there are a lot of pro users below that level of need.

1 Like

Well the monitor part is definitely happening. :slight_smile:

Looks like two models. One as a successor to the Pro Display XDR and one “more affordable” option. Both were supposedly completed months ago already. The rumored 7K display with an A13 apparently is yet another project. I’m wondering if possibly this 7K is the successor to the Pro Display XDR and the new display we’re about to see is the “more affordable” option.

Note that “more affordable” is being rumored as about half the XDR, IOW about $2500. :laughing:

1 Like

But will consumers pay more for an affordable Apple model when there are literally thousands of better and significantly cheaper models out in the wild?

Who said anything about better? Nobody here ever argued cheap PC kit was ‘better’. It’s cheap, but it’s definitely not better, let alone better at running macOS and its apps.

There would be literally (observe correct usage of that word) one better product. That would be the Mac Pro. At $6k it’s well beyond usual upsale territory as has been sufficiently established here and elsewhere. There’s plenty room. Both in terms of price and in terms of features/functionality.

The point is that, to date, Apple is targeting a specific market segment that will be more profitable. Please refer to the links about profit margins for displays posted above. Other companies already launched higher end displays to compete with the XDR, but as yet they are not close, and certainly no cigar.

If Apple is looking to build out a monitor line and maintain their profitability goals, maybe they should make a model that doesn’t require $999 stand. But I suspect the margins on the stand are extremely good for Apple.

For $1,000 I would consider it, but $2,500? No thanks. That’s a monitor that belongs in a professional studio not in a consumer’s home office. However, I’ll wait until this thing materializes to see how it’s priced.

Interesting. But not much cheaper than Apple’s monitor given that it’s being sold at $4,000. Less expensive overall but what about build quality, etc.?

We’ve circled back to my point about waiting for Apple to price things reasonably is going to be a looong one.

1 Like

Apple already sells a 27" 5K display. It costs $1799 and comes for free with an extra Intel CPU, a Radeon, and 8/256. You’d think if they removed the Intel/Radeon circuitry, RAM, and disk, you should get close to those $1000. :wink:

1 Like

OK, so the Mac Studio is rumored to be this really fat Mac mini. If that is indeed true, judging by the size of that thing, you really have to assume it was designed to handle far more than just one M1 Max.

1 Like

Assuming this rumor is true, I hope there’s something in there to warrant a taller case and not just an extra-big heat sink. Some things that would be nice include:

  • RAM expansion. A few SO-SIMM sockets so you can go beyond what’s built-in to the SoC.

  • Storage expansion. In addition to the built-in storage, a few M.2 slots for additional NVMe storage.

  • A mount-point and SATA connector for a 2.5" or 3.5" drive would be especially nice, but I don’t think that will happen.

    For most of us, a hard drive is the only affordable way to get truly huge amounts of storage (think 4TB and more), and that pretty much means a 3.5" drive with a SATA or SAS connection. But I think Apple is going to continue making us use external drives for this.

  • One or two PCIe expansion slots, in order to support GPU expansion or peripherals that you can’t really get in Thunderbolt form (e.g. SCSI or FibreChannel interfaces for high-speed external storage or networking faster than 10Gbit/s).

    I think one slot for GPU expansion is a possibility, but other kinds of peripherals are not anything on Apple’s roadmap. But once you’ve got a slot, hopefully Apple won’t try to micro-manage what people are allowed to plug into it.

Of course, there’s no possible way to put all of these in a case like that at once. I’m presenting a laundry list of features, not a product spec.

I’m starting to wonder if this Mac Studio is perhaps the new Mac Pro. It’s clearly geared towards much more cooling that we have seen so far for even the M1 Max. It’s also got more internal room, perhaps for extra memory or flash? Perhaps for PCIe? Or multiple CPUs? I’m starting to think there might not be an M1/2 in a Mac Pro enclosure at all.