Towards the end of 2021, I did a deep cleaning and remodeling of the office in which I worked from home for eighteen months.
This was mostly because the MacBook Pro I’ve had since October lets me take my work anywhere there’s a desk. But recently I was working on what a setup would look like in this office with the MacBook Pro, so I looked around for a new monitor.
When the Apple Studio Display was announced at the company’s March 8 event, it had almost everything I could expect from an Apple display, but was missing some extremely key features.
FaceID first appeared in 2017 with the debut of the iPhone X, giving you the option to scan your face to open the phone, instead of scanning your finger with TouchID. While some have speculated that the lack of FaceID is due to the in-screen A13 chip not having a security feature required for the function, I don’t think that’s the only thing stopping it. Apple to bring it to its screen.
It’s not a design decision
Between 1999 and 2011, Apple released three monitors with the Cinema Display name, each with different sizes, from 20 inches to 27 inches, and price points. None of them had a built-in webcam until the last of the cinema screens released in 2010.
However, they were great peripherals to have for a workspace and for any Mac you owned.
Yet Apple is a company that puts privacy over features and design above all else. It’s been its mantra since Tim Cook took over as CEO in 2011, so you’d assume the new display, with its built-in camera with Center Stage (where the camera follows you wherever you go), would include FaceID.
But instead, it’s not – FaceID is still chained to Apple’s iPhones and iPads.
Sitting at a desk in an office, while FaceID recognizes you, without you having to lift a finger is very appealing, especially for accessibility needs where no extra effort is required to unlock your device. Its omission is bizarre.
But while I find FaceID a strange omission, I can at least understand ProMotion
absent from the Studio Display, although I would have liked.
This feature allows a display to generate frames at a faster rate per second, resulting in smoother animations. The iPad Pro was the first Apple device to have it, followed by the iPhone 13 Pro, then the 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021).
To have this in a 27-inch screen is overkill and would most likely have bumped up the $1499 / £1499 / AU$1539 price tag significantly.
I will wait for Studio Display 2
There are some Apple products where it is better to wait for the second generation version. Apple Watch Series 2 with watchOS 2 was a big refinement over what came out in 2015. The Apple Pencil in its second version benefited greatly from charging on the side of an iPad, instead of a Lightning port .
I’m sure the Apple Studio Display will be another example here of where the first version’s omissions will show up in a second-generation model. There may even be different sizes to choose from besides ProMotion.
Regardless of the flaws, it’s great that Apple is releasing its own screens again. The Studio Display is sure to sell well to creatives and programmers.
And hopefully we’ll see FaceID break free from iOS and benefit those who work on a Mac at a desk, especially those with accessibility needs.