Apple’s Mac Studio and Studio Display have been since early 2022, and the combination is supposed to be a good choice for people who want a powerful desktop but don’t want to spend $6,000 on a Mac Pro. The Mac Studio is a more than capable computer towers, and it pairs with an excellent 27-inch display.
Even though the Mac Studio and Studio Display are great products, they may not be the right choice for people who were hoping for Apple to release a new 27-inch iMac instead.
How the Mac Studio Replaced the 27-Inch iMac
When the Mac Studio and Studio Display were released, Apple stopped selling the 27-inch iMac, leaving the 24-inch M1 iMac the only option for consumers who want an all-in-one Apple desktop. Some might consider the Mac Studio and Studio Display as a replacement for the 27-inch iMac since the Studio Display shares basically the same screen as the outgoing 5K iMac. But if you look at the whole package, it isn’t a perfect fit.
There is also the M1 Mac mini. However, consumers who purchase iMacs benefit from the all-in-one package, so the Mac mini is similar to the Mac Studio in that it isn’t an ideal alternative either.
Furthermore, those alternatives aren’t as upgradeable as the 27-inch iMac used to be. You can only get 16GB of ram in the M1 iMac and the Mac mini, while the 27-inch iMac use to max out at 128GB. That memory was also user upgradable in the 27-inch iMac.
There is a gap in the iMac lineup by not having a powerful, 27-inch desktop Mac, and here are all the reasons we think the Mac Studio and Studio Display aren’t good replacements.
4. The Price
To break down the prices, the Studio Display starts at $1,699 if you want the standard glass and a non-height-adjustable stand. You will have to pay extra for the nano-texture option or a different stand. The Mac Studio starts at $1,999 and comes with an M1 Max chip, 32GB of unified memory, and 512GB of storage. The total for a base Studio Display and a base Mac Studio is nearly $3,700, before taxes.
That is substantially higher than the $1,799 the 27-inch iMac used to start at in the lineup. This can price out specific consumers who want a larger Mac but can’t afford to spend nearly $4,000. Even if you pair the Studio Display with an M1 Mac mini, you are still looking at almost $2,400. This is not a small price increase when compared to the 27-inch iMac.
3. You’re Paying for Unnecessary Power
Apple’s 27-inch iMac was a good balance between price and power. While the Mac Studio is significantly more powerful than the 27-inch iMac, not everyone is looking for a desktop that has that power.
In addition to that, the 27-inch iMac was also user upgradeable. If you needed to add more RAM down the road, the 27-inch iMac included a small compartment at the back of the computer where you could add additional memory sticks. Apple silicon Macs are not user upgradeable in this way.
2. The Modular Design
One big reason why people loved the 27-inch iMac was that it was an all-in-one computer. It came with the built-in display, the computer, and a keyboard and mouse for $1,799. Since the Mac Studio is a modular system, you must purchase the display, keyboard, and mouse separately.
These purchases start to add up and can be expensive, certainly more than the base price of the 27-inch iMac. Also, many monitors don’t come with built-in speakers, camera, or native macOS support. You don’t have to worry about this when you buy the iMac, but with the Mac Studio you’ll need to research a lot more purchases.
1. You Need Multiple AppleCare Plans
AppleCare for an iMac costs $169. However, if you want to purchase AppleCare for a Mac Studio and Studio Display, they are two separate purchases at a total cost of nearly $320. AppleCare could be worth it if you depend on your computer for work and won’t be able to afford a replacement. But at those costs, it really starts to tip the balance.
The Mac Studio Is for a Different Market
Apple’s Mac Studio and Studio Display are good products, but they are not the perfect replacement for the 27-inch iMac. Apple’s Mac desktop lineup is missing the larger all-in-one machine, and it’s created a divisive situation for users who want a larger screen desktop.
The Mac Studio and Studio Display are great if you need a powerful machine for creative work, but if you’re looking for a family computer with a large display, you should definitely look elsewhere.