There is currently a chasm in the Mac desktop lineup in between the entry-level Mac Mini, and the expensive Mac Pro. The Mac Mini pricing starts at $699, and the Mac Pro starts at $5,999 (and goes to the stratosphere), so that’s quite a gulf.To remedy this, Apple is reportedly looking to drop a new tower PC between the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro. This smaller Mac Pro chassis will still be marketed towards professionals and creatives, but with a less painful price tag. Apple is also reportedly developing a 7K professional monitor as well. Hopefully it’ll be more affordable than the current Pro Display XDR, which starts at $4999.
What Apple is going to do, according to 9to5mac, is create new branding for products that will exist in between these two extremes — entry level and Pro — and it’s settled on the word Studio for this effort. Thus we will have a Mac Studio tower, and an Apple Studio Display, according to rumors, though the Mac Studio name isn’t set in stone just yet.
The tower will be based on the hardware used in the current Mac Mini but with a few more ponies under the hood. Whereas the current Mini is essentially a MacBook Air in a small chassis, sources are reporting Apple will offer two versions of the new tower; one with an M1 Max CPU, and one with something even more powerful that doesn’t exist yet.
The current M1 Max CPU sports 10 CPU cores and 32 GPU cores, but journalists such as Mark Gurman have predicted Apple is working on a chip with 40 CPU cores and 128 GPU cores. Presumably this configuration will be reserved for the top-end Mac Pro, but perhaps Apple will offer a 12-16 core variant in this hypothetical new Apple Studio. The Mac Pro is currently expected to switch away from Intel silicon this year.
Information regarding the upcoming Studio display is a bit less clear at this time, with 9to5mac saying all its sources would tell it is that it’ll be a 7K panel. That is a notably higher resolution than its current Pro Display XDR, which is a 32″ 6K monitor with a 6016 x 3384 resolution. It’s possible that Apple will ship a 36-inch panel or larger. Monitors this size are useful to professionals working in photo and video editing.
If these rumors are true, it might mark Apple’s return to offering (somewhat) reasonably priced monitors. A decade ago Apple had its Cinema displays, but it stopped selling them in 2011 to many people’s chagrin. Since then, Apple has only offered the ultra-luxury Pro Display XDR, which is too expensive for anyone but the most demanding video editor to consider. Alternately, Apple might position this as an even high-end display potion. Given the specs and rumored size, we’d bet on a more expensive display with the Pro Display XDR holding its price.
These rumors ring true to us for a few reasons. The first is noted Apple reporter Mark Gurman has mentioned them previously, and he has a strong track record overall. Second, for years Apple users have been asking for something exactly like what is described; a high-end computer and monitor that isn’t insanely expensive, because there are a ton of photo and video editors out there that don’t need something made for Pixar engineers, and also don’t want or need a laptop like the MacBook Pro. They just want a powerful desktop, like in the old days when Apple sold normal tower versions of its computers. It’s also been reported previously that Apple is going to be focusing heavily on the Mac in 2022, so the addition of a highly sought after small tower and monitor would jive with that notion. We will find out soon enough, as Apple has already sent out invitations for its Peek Ahead event taking place March 8th. Since the spring event is usually focused on products like the iPad and Apple Watch, we will probably see more computer hardware news at its June event, the World Wide Developers Conference.