Studio Display Potential

So a slightly different discussion than the display topics so far, the actual computing power specs of the Studio Display. Inside is the A13 Bionic, which was the CPU from the iPhone 11 generation (including the pro models). So that’s a pretty powerful CPU…in a monitor.

For an interesting comparison, the AppleTV 4K uses a A12 Bionic chip…which made me think about what might be possible with a Studio Display. I mean it’s a display, and there were lots of rumors in the last few years about Apple branded TVs.

I always thought Apple wouldn’t go there, but what if they did? The Studio Display has more CPU power than the current AppleTV, only thing it’s lacking is the 32/64GB storage. But what would 32/64GB storage chip at wholesale prices cost Apple to hide inside the monitor? A 32GB SD card is $10 these days…

I wonder how many people in a smaller apartment do/might use their computer monitor as their TV? WIth tvOS build in to a 5K monitor…almost seems like why wouldn’t Apple have done that?

I kinda doubt Apple will go there, but I wish they would. I use my monitor as my TV (I have an AppleTV attached.)

Since the Studio Display doesn’t not have additional inputs, this would make it more appealing for my use case.

Competition in the monitor business is cutthroat, price sensitive and the market is flooded. In the TV business, it’s even more cutthroat, and a lot more price sensitive and flooded than computer monitors. My thinking is that TVs are basically rather dumb devices. Cable boxes, Apple TVs, Rokus, satellite dishes, etc. stream content, and except for Apple TV, many of them also gather user data about what they watch and when so they can sell targeted advertising. It’s not like TVs themselves do much else.

The profit margins on televisions are very, very much lower than low, and they are even lower than those of computer monitors. And although Apple is big enough to command highly visible shelf space on retail displays for iPhones, Macs and iPads, they’d need a lot of TV models to compete with an ongoing onslaught of Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic, Visio, Toshiba, TCL, HiSense, etc.TVs.

A 27 inch Apple Studio Display costs $1599.

A 65 inch Samsung TV costs $647.99

A 65 inch Sony TV costs $846

Apple has been wildly successful by focusing on products that people will replace every few years. Most people tend to hang on to televisions for longer times than they do with computers, mobile phones or monitors. So I don’t think Apple is developing a television for the near future, but I did think that Apple wouldn’t be releasing or even developing a display.

A thought about the CPU in the Studio Display. Isn’t it true that CPUs (or even all chips) are graded after manufacturing? Good ones fulfill the specs to 100%, but some can only run reliably at lower clock rates. A13 CPUs for the display could be lower graded ones, they would run at a reduced clock rate, still deliver quite a lot of power and raise the yield from manufacturing.

So the race is on for the first Studio Display hacked to run iOS? :nerd_face:

Yes, it’s generally referred to as “binning”, as in separating parts into bins. The variations of the M1 chip, ie the cheaper ones with slightly less cores are attributed to this. So a flaw in one core doesn’t prevent it from being using, increasing yields.

Absolutely true, but it’s unlikely that a mature chip like the A13 has so many failures that they’re going to be putting nothing but binned chips in these displays.

But you are correct that it may be underclocked or have less RAM, due to the product needs of a display, which will clearly be less than the requirements of a phone. And with lower requirements, some chips that were found to be unsuitable for use in a phone may become useful.

Interesting news this weekend. Studio display has 64GB of ram (same as AppleTV high end), and is running iOS:

All sorts of interesting possibilities. Standalone AppleTV type interface seems plausible. Developer access to embedded iOS for testing seems highly unlikely. And unannounced Apple Pencil/touch support I would guess would be in the “when pigs fly” category. But yet building in iOS and 64GB of memory just to support Center Stage? While it might have been a quick/easy solution, seems like overkill…

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Using an existing and readily available hardware component is not just less costly than designing and certifying a new design, it allows imaginative new solutions in display image processing such as color calibration and profile selection.

I even dream of a large-screen iPhone.

Agreed, yet there is something strange about the 64GB. First, remember there’s still a global shortage of chips, so it would seem you would want to minimize any use.

[Edited due to bad memory (no pun intended). Originally wrote comparison based on A12 incorrectly.]

As noted below, all A13 devices that apple shipped had a floor of 64GB, so that would seem to be the minimum config that was ever produced.

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The Studio Display has an A13, not an A12. I think all of the devices that came with an A13 had a minimum of 64 GB of storage.


It’s been discussed that it likely had to come with 64 GB (even though only 2 GB are being used) simply because A13 supports nothing below 64 GB. Doesn’t necessarily mean Apple has any big plans to make use of that extra flash. Some excess cheap memory is likely much less expensive than redesigning the SoC.

And using the readily available A13 to power stuff like Center Stage and Siri was certainly a lot cheaper than designing new silicon to handle that on just the Studio display.