On the inside, Apple Studio Display looks more sophisticated than expected

On the inside, Apple Studio Display looks more sophisticated than expected

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On the inside, Apple Studio Display looks more sophisticated than iMac
One of these is an iMac and the other is the Apple Studio Display. Which is which?
Photo: iFixit

iFixit showed people the interior of the new Apple Studio Display next to a partially disassembled iMac and asked them to pick which is which. You can play along at home by looking at the image above.

Most people got it wrong. Apple’s latest external monitor (on the left) is packed with features, and that’s reflected in its surprisingly complex internal design.

iFixit put the device through a full teardown and found that many of the most important components of the new external monitor showed up in previous Apple devices.

Apple Studio Display teardown finds familiar components

The Studio Display has a 27-inch (diagonal) 5K Retina display. So does the recently discontinued Intel-based iMac. Both screens deliver the same 5120-by-2880 resolution. As iFixit puts it, “This is exactly the same display as the 5K iMac. At least Apple has a native 5K display without the computer attached.”

And the Studio Display’s much-maligned front-facing camera looks familiar as well. After removing the 12MP ultra-wide camera, iFixit said, “The iPhone 11 selfie camera from a couple years ago is also a 12 megapixel ultrawide, and they look pretty much identical hardware-wise.”

That camera works quite well, while reviewers excoriated the one in the Apple Studio Display. If both devices utilize essentially the same hardware, then Apple should be able to improve image and video quality in the new monitor with its promised software patch.

Apple Studio Display teardown — 11MP camera
The Apple Studio Display teardown finds a 12MP camera that looks “pretty much identical” to the one from the iPhone 11, according to iFixit.
Photo: iFixit

Internal power supply leads to ‘massive’ fans

Much has been made of the fact that this external monitor runs iOSiFixit’s Apple Studio Display teardown finds “an A13 Bionic chip and 64GB of storage for some reason.” That’s the same chip and storage capacity as in the iPhone 11.

Another feature of the new external monitor that drew criticism is its nonremovable power cable. iFixit found that the cable pops right out … if you’re willing to cut apart the Studio Display and partially disassemble it first.

But the Studio Display doesn’t require an external power supply. It plugs straight into a wall socket. iFixit found that Apple designed one flat enough to fit inside the casing. And it requires cooling. The teardown mentions that the Studio Display’s “massive fans are here to dissipate heat from the power supply.”

Watch iFixit’s full Apple Studio Display teardown for more details: