Apple Executives Discuss How Mac Studio Fills the Gap Between iMac and Mac Pro

Apple's new Mac Studio desktop computer will begin arriving to customers this Friday. Ahead of the launch, TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino spoke with a trio of senior Apple employees about the company's process of designing the Mac Studio.

mac studio lifestyle shot
Just like the Mac Pro tower released in late 2019, the Mac Studio was born as a result of Apple's Pro Workflows Team that was created shortly after the company apologized to pro users and ensured that it remains committed to the Mac.

"We look very much at Mac Studio for what it is, a completely new Mac product line," said Tom Boger, vice president of Mac and iPad product marketing at Apple. "Our philosophy was not at all to take a Mac mini and scale it up, it was 'we know we're working on this M1 chip and we want to bring it to those users who want performance and conductivity and a modular system. And let's allow it to live right on people's desks so it's within easy reach."

Xander Soren, director of product marketing for the Pro Apps team at Apple, told Panzarino that creative and pro users expressed a clear desire for a so-called "modular" system that sat between the iMac and the Mac Pro in Apple's desktop lineup.

"I think the way we look at it is we're happy to provide multiple ways for our users to work," added Boger. "So you could decide to have a MacBook Pro with an M1 Max chip in it and you could decide to have a setup in your studio where you bring the MacBook Pro back and forth. And if that's the way that you choose to work, great. But we also have users that prefer to have that desktop that always lives on their desk."

Apple said that it listened to customer feedback to decide which ports to offer on the Mac Studio, and it also designed the computer to ensure that all of those ports were easily accessible on both the front and back of the machine.

"We've got IO right on the front, and even if you need to get to the back, you just spin it around," said Boger. "It's relatively light; it's very small; it fits under most displays at 3.7 inches high. We're really giving users something they've never had before. They've always had to trade off. If I wanted a smaller form factor computer, I had to trade off performance. And what we wanted to do was give people something where you don't have to do that."

Shelly Goldberg, senior director of Mac and iPad product design at Apple, said the Mac Studio was a fun challenge in terms of fitting the powerful performance of the M1 Ultra chip into a more compact form factor with optimal thermal management.

"…The team did hundreds of thermal simulations for the airflow to try to figure out what's the best pattern of airflow through the system to try to optimize for performance and acoustics and ultimately, we came up with the the design that we have which has the inlet on the bottom coming in through over 2,000 machined holes that are all machined at [a specific] angle that rotates as you go around the perimeter," said Goldberg.

As for the Studio Display, Boger said Apple aimed for a "great, very accessible, very mainstream display for all of our Mac users."

"It's a great display if you want to hook up to the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, Mac Studio, Mac Pro, whatever," said Boger. "And we know that there's still users out there that are using Intel-based Macs and so putting A13 in there processes the audio for Spatial Audio and makes the magic of Center Stage happen."

Notably, many reviewers found the Studio Display's webcam quality to be unsatisfactory, leading Apple to issue a statement indicating that it will be making unspecified improvements in a future software update. No timeframe was provided for the update.

We've rounded up reviews of both the Mac Studio and Studio Display for a closer look at both products ahead of their Friday launch.

Related Roundup: Mac Studio
Buyer's Guide: Mac Studio (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

MysticCow Avatar
15 weeks ago
So it fills the gap between those who want a system they can't upgrade (iMac) and one they can (Mac Pro) by making a system that...you...can't...upgrade...
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zetokore Avatar
15 weeks ago
> who want performance and conductivity and a modular system

I wouldn't call a device that isn't upgradeable modular. It's the 2022 iMac but $2k more.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fwmireault Avatar
15 weeks ago
Mac Studio looks like a fantastic and very powerful computer, don’t get me wrong. But their repeated usage of "modular" in their marketing PR is laughable
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
filchermcurr Avatar
15 weeks ago
What do they mean when they say modular? It looks pretty singular to me, but I might be misunderstanding the definition...
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JMStearnsX2 Avatar
15 weeks ago
Yeah, I’m not seeing how this is remotely “modular”…
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Soba Avatar
15 weeks ago

What do they mean when they say modular? It looks pretty singular to me, but I might be misunderstanding the definition...
According to the article,

"Modular, in this sense, consisting of the Mac Studio offering two levels of M1 chip and a paired Studio Display."

I don't think you're misunderstanding the definition; it seems that they are. This is pretty weird, even for Marketing speak. :p

To be clear, I like the Mac Studio and I plan to buy one in the future, but describing it this way is strange and illogical. The Studio has a lot of things going for it; it is counterproductive to tout it as something that it clearly is not.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

mac studio renders Large

Alleged 'Mac Studio' Renders Surface Ahead of Tomorrow's 'Peek Performance' Apple Event

Monday March 7, 2022 7:07 am PST by
Renders alleged to be the "Mac Studio," described as a hybrid between a Mac Pro and Mac mini, have surfaced online just a day before Apple holds its "Peek Performance" event, where at least one new Mac is expected to be announced. The renders were shared by YouTuber Luke Miani, and shows a design similar to the Mac mini, with a very similar footprint but approximately four-inches tall...
mac studio and studio display

Complete 'Apple Studio' Package With Highest-End Mac Studio, Studio Display, and Accessories Costs Nearly $11,000

Tuesday March 8, 2022 12:14 pm PST by
Apple today announced the Mac Studio and the Studio Display, a setup that includes new Mac situated between the Mac mini and the Mac Pro alongside a new mid-level display. The Mac Studio and Studio Display are meant to be paired together, but as expected, they are purchased separately to allow users to customize their setups. To get the full "Apple Studio" experience, customers will need ...
mac studio studio display

Mac Studio and Studio Display Orders Now Live

Tuesday March 8, 2022 11:11 am PST by
Apple today introduced the Mac Studio, an all-new Mac that's a hybrid between a Mac Pro and a Mac mini, with the new machine equipped with M1 Max and M1 Ultra chips. Priced starting at $1999 for the M1 Max version and $3999 for the M1 Ultra version, the Mac Studio can now be ordered from Apple's website. Alongside the Mac Studio, Apple introduced the new 5K 27-inch Studio Display, which...
maxresdefault

Everything Apple Announced Today in Just Over Seven Minutes

Tuesday March 8, 2022 12:54 pm PST by
Today's "Peek Performance" event was more exciting than we initially thought it would be, with Apple debuting a new Mac Studio machine and Studio Display alongside a 5G version of the iPhone SE with A15 chip and an M1 iPad Air with 5G chip. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. It took Apple an hour to go over all of today's announcements, but we've summarized all of the ...
apple studio display 1

Apple Unveils $1,599 27-Inch 5K 'Studio Display' External Monitor

Tuesday March 8, 2022 10:54 am PST by
Apple today unveiled the 27-inch 5K "Studio Display" external monitor, alongside the new, high-end Mac Studio desktop computer. The Studio Display features an all-screen design with narrow borders in a slim, all-aluminium enclosure like the 24-inch iMac. The display can be tiled up to 30 degrees thanks to its built-in stand. To customize the display, customers can choose a more versatile, ...
mac studio studio display duo

First Mac Studio and Studio Display Orders Begin Arriving to Customers in Australia and New Zealand

Thursday March 17, 2022 3:02 pm PDT by
It is officially March 18 in Australia and New Zealand, which means that it's Mac Studio and Studio Display launch day. Customers in these countries are always the first to get their hands on new devices, and Apple's new studio devices are being delivered. The Mac Studio and Studio Display are starting to arrive to customers who pre-ordered when the devices went up for sale following the...
maxresdefault

iFixit Tears Down Mac Studio and Studio Display

Wednesday March 23, 2022 2:55 pm PDT by
iFixit today disassembled Apple's new M1 Max Mac Studio, giving us a first glimpse at the components inside the machine. This is not iFixit's traditional, more detailed teardown, which has not yet been published, but it does provide a few interesting details about the Mac Studio. "If Apple squeezed a Mac Pro into a Mac mini, you'd get something that looks a lot like the new [Mac Studio],"...
mac studio ssd

Mac Studio Storage Not User-Upgradeable Due to Software Block [Updated]

Monday March 21, 2022 8:40 am PDT by
Update: The Mac Studio requires an IPSW restore after changing its SSD modules to ensure that they are readable and able to boot. Running a Device Firmware Update (DFU) restore using the macOS IPSW package for the Mac Studio should enable the machine to boot from a different SSD, providing that both of the modules are of the same size and make, meaning that storage upgrades still appear to be...

Popular Stories

macbook air m2

Exclusive: Apple Plans to Launch MacBook Air With M2 Chip on July 15

Wednesday June 29, 2022 5:23 pm PDT by
The redesigned MacBook Air with the all-new M2 Apple silicon chip will be available for customers starting Friday, July 15, MacRumors has learned from a retail source. The new MacBook Air was announced and previewed during WWDC earlier this month, with Apple stating availability will begin in July. The MacBook Air features a redesigned body that is thinner and lighter than the previous...
Mac Studio IO

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished Mac Studio Models

Thursday June 30, 2022 7:42 pm PDT by
Apple today began selling refurbished Mac Studio models for the first time in the United States, Canada, and select European countries, such as Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, two refurbished Mac Studio configurations are currently available, including one with the M1 Max chip (10-core CPU and 24-core GPU) for...
top stories 2jul2022

Top Stories: M2 MacBook Air Release Date, New HomePod Rumor, and More

Saturday July 2, 2022 6:00 am PDT by
The M2 MacBook Pro has started making its way into customers' hands and we're learning more about how it performs in a variety of situations, but all eyes are really on the upcoming M2 MacBook Air which has seen a complete redesign and should be arriving in a couple of weeks. Other top stories this week included a host of product rumors including additional M2 and even M3 Macs, an updated...
original iphone 2007

15 Years Ago Today, the iPhone Went On Sale

Wednesday June 29, 2022 4:43 am PDT by
Fifteen years ago to this day, the iPhone, the revolutionary device presented to the world by the late Steve Jobs, officially went on sale. The first iPhone was announced by Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007, and went on sale on June 29, 2007. "An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator... these are not three separate devices," Jobs famously said. "Today, Apple is going to reinvent the...
rootbug

Major macOS High Sierra Bug Allows Full Admin Access Without Password - How to Fix [Updated]

Tuesday November 28, 2017 12:33 pm PST by
There appears to be a serious bug in macOS High Sierra that enables the root superuser on a Mac with a blank password and no security check. The bug, discovered by developer Lemi Ergin, lets anyone log into an admin account using the username "root" with no password. This works when attempting to access an administrator's account on an unlocked Mac, and it also provides access at the login...