Via Michael Tsai:

I’ve been happy with my 27-inch iMac, after many years of laptops-as-desktops before that, so I had kind of been assuming I would either get anew iMac or a desktop Mac with an external display (to go along with the non-Retina Dell that’s attached to my iMac). There’s no more big-screen iMac, so the Mac Studio seemed like the obvious choice.

But the more I thought about the potential switch, the less sense it seemed to make. Although I don’t travel a lot, there are still significant benefits to having my main Mac be potentially portable at any moment. Ican grab it and go without having to do a lengthy sync first. If the power or Internet goes down, I can easily relocate (and not have to worry about powering the desktop with a UPS while syncing).

One of the nice things about the Mac Studio is all the ports it has, but it doesn’t have enough that I could avoid using a hub. M1 Ultra aside, it may have some performance benefits over a MacBook Pro due to better thermals, but I don’t expect a large difference.

Please read the full post though – https://mjtsai.com/blog/2022/03/10/new-mac-studio-and-studio-display-change-mac-buying-calculus/ 

I have been a 27” iMac owner since 2008. The story is well documented here but I went from iBook to 15” PowerBook to iMac 27” + a MacBook Air and that was my setup until 2016 when I did iMac + MacBook Pro. In 2020, I sold the MacBook Pro because I was working from home full time and my setup was iMac + iPad Pro until December when the MacBook Pro finally became fast enough that I didn’t need an iMac anymore. 

Like Tsai, I didn’t need a desktop but instead, I needed the fastest Mac I could afford and in our Intel world, that meant an iMac with lots of cooling space to house the higher watt chips that would not work in a MacBook Pro. I’ve written here a few times about how all of the Core i9 MacBook Pro’s from 2016 on were simply too thin to maintain base clock frequency so it was basically a waste of money to spec up one of these with the fastest chip.

Apple’s M1 Max has allowed me, a die hard Desktop + Laptop person to use just one computer and while my MacBook Pro has now been plugged in for 2 months which makes the portable nature of it completely moot, it is much faster than the iMac it replaces and therefore the mobile possibilities are a selling point, not a caveat. My point is, M1 Max in a 16” MacBook Pro is fantastic and it being mobile is just the icing on the cake. This was not possible until Apple Silicon. 

Mac Studio in its M1 Max configuration is to me, a machine that doesn’t interest me because it’s not portable. I’d get nearly the exact performance but it’s stuck to a desk. Doesn’t seem worth it and the M1 Ultra and presumably, the massive M2 Ultra that will go into the Mac Pro this year far exceed the performance I ned for the next few years. Unlike the iMac, where I was squeezing every megahertz I could out of that machine and a bi-annual upgrade was necessary, the M1 Max on a 16” MacBook Pro is as fast as I can see myself needing for a very long time…oh and hey, I can take it anywhere. 

Tsai goes on to mention a Mac Studio wouldn’t eliminate the need for a Thunderbolt dock and I agree. I have about 14 devices hooked into my CalDigit TS3. That workhorse will be with me for a while. 

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Early this week, I was going to order an Apple Studio Display to replace my 4K, 32” Dell (U3219Q) which I paid about $1200 for 4 years ago. The display from Apple would be VESA mounted, be 25% brighter, have a built in camera with Center stage and great audio and inputs along with powering the MacBook Pro but I was hoping for a display in the $2500 range…a baby XDR that would give me 5K/6K resolution in a 32” form factor with OLED or MiniLED and 120Hz ProMotion. I don’t need, nor can I afford an XDR and the 27” available today for $1599 is an iMac display. If I had my way, 27” Studio would be $1299, 32” Studio OLED would be $2500 and XDR would be $3900. We’ll have to see what WWDC brings us. Dell just replaced my display under warranty so I don’t need to upgrade any time soon.