In Disney and Pixar’s Onward, two teenage elf brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot (voices of Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) get an unexpected opportunity to spend one more day with their late dad and embark on an extraordinary quest aboard Barley’s epic van Guinevere. Like any good quest, their journey is filled with magic spells, cryptic maps, impossible obstacles, and unimaginable discoveries. But when the boys’ fearless mom Laurel (voice of Julia Louis-Dreyfus) realizes that her sons are missing, she teams up with a part-lion, part-bat, part-scorpion, former warrior – aka The Manticore (voice of Octavia Spencer) – and heads off to find them. Perilous curses aside, this one magical day could mean more than any of them ever dreamed.
If you have been reading my site for a while, you might realize that I like video games. One thing you might not realize is that I also like Legos. You might expect that if you combine the two that I would be the target market, and you would be absolutely correct.
Over the last 18 years of blogging I have written some reviews of Lego games, including Lego Dimensions and a list of my favorite games for 2017 . When I went back and looked, I thought I had done reviews of more of the games, but for some reason it turns out that I have not, but I absolutely played a lot of Lego video games over the years. Some of these include Lego City Undercover (on both Xbox and Wii U), Lego Marvel, Lego Harry Potter, Lego Indiana Jones, and, of course, all of the Lego Star Wars games. With Star Wars and Lego being two of the things that I like, I thought I would write a review of the “Lego Star Wars: Skywalker Saga” video game, so let us look at various aspects of the game.
Before we get into the game we need to take a brief look at the source material, the Star Wars film franchise.
Star Wars Films
You are likely aware that there are nine films that focus on the main characters within the Star Wars franchise. In fact, these nine films are three trilogies, the “Original” trilogy, the “Prequel” trilogy, and the “Sequel” trilogy. All of these comprise what is called “The Skywalker Saga”. There are other anthology films, but these are not included in the game. The complete list of films in the “Lego Star Wars: the Skywalker Saga” are:
The Phantom Menace
Attack of the Clones
Revenge of the Sith
A New Hope
The Empire Strikes Back
Return of the Jedi
The Force Awakens
The Last Jedi
The Rise of Skywalker
Throughout the game you will be able to play all nine films and use a variety of different characters. Some of these will be from the films that you can easily recognize, while others may be a bit more obscure. Before we dive into the game itself, let us look at its actual release.
Game Release and Delays
It is quite common for games these days to have an initial release date and end up being delayed. But the Skywalker Saga is an outlier, even for the norm. The game was initially announced at E3 in 2019. An initial release date for the game was set in May of 2020 with an expected release in October of 2020. However, events in August of 2020, it was announced that due to COVID-19 the game would be delayed with an expected release date being set to Spring 2021.
Fast forward to April 2nd, 2021, and TT Games announced via Twitter that the game would be delayed indefinitely. The reason provided was to allow more time to work out the bugs since the game was supposed to be the largest and biggest Lego game to date. In January of 2022, TT Games announced that the Skywalker Saga would launch on April 5th, 2022. The game did in fact launch on April 5th, 2022.
I am one who enjoys all sorts of Lego games and this was absolutely no exception. I had pre-ordered the game in December 2020. I opted to get the “Deluxe” version, which included the character pack as well as a Luke Skywalker mini-fig. This pre-order length is the longest that I have experienced, and I have been gaming for a long time. The number and length of delays were worth it though. This was one of the most stable, although no perfect, Lego video games that I have played to date.
About the Game
The Skywalker Saga is an ambitious game. As the name states, it covers the entirety of the Skywalker Saga, which is all nine of the films, from “The Phantom Menace” to “Rise of Skywalker”. You might initially think that would have to start at the first film, “The Phantom Menace”, but that is not the case. In fact, there are you can start at any first movies of each of the trilogies. This means that you can begin at The Phantom Menace, A New Hope, or The Force Awakens, depending on your mood.
For my play through I opted to start with The Phantom Menace. Within each film, you are not able skip ahead to another film, you actually have to play through the trilogy in order. Next, let us look at the game play.
Within Skywalker Saga that are actually two different modes of being able to play through a particular level, Story Mode and Free Play. Story mode is a locked mode in which you will need to use the provided characters to complete the level. Free Play mode is very similar to Story mode, except you can choose any character that you have unlocked and can switch freely between them in order to accomplish the tasks required.
Each class of character has its own unique abilities. Here are some benefits for each class:
Jedi – Jedi mind tricks, Jedi powers
Heroes – Hero Terminals, Grappling Hooks
Scavenger – Special Tools
Scoundrel – Special Targeting
Bounty Hunters – Enemy detection, grenades, and some can temporarily hover
There are a number of features within Skywalker Saga that features that you have come to expect from Lego games. Chief amongst these is collecting of studs. Studs are circular lego pieces that will provide you will various amounts depending on the color. The colors and their stud values are:
Silver – 10 studs
Gold – 100 studs
Blue – 1000 studs
Purple – 10000 studs
Studs are used for a variety of things throughout the game. Some of these include purchasing upgrades, ships, characters, or even during quests. There are only a few quests that actually require you to pay for something using studs. If I recall correctly, the most expensive thing paid for during a quest was 10,000 studs.
“True Jedi” is a status where you collect a requisite amount of studs in each level. The amount varies level to level. For some levels it can be easily accomplished during story mode without any multipliers, while others are more easily accomplished with stud multipliers enabled.
Each of the nine movies has six levels to go through. These levels are re-creations of the movies with some additional elements. If you have seen the movies you will definitely recognize the various parts of each movie and which parts the game is recreating.
Within each level there are some tasks that you need to accomplish. There are five mini-kits that you need to locate and obtain. These mini-kits are used to unlock various Micro ships. Some of the mini kits can be obtained while playing through the story using the characters provided to you, meanwhile there are others that will require you to use other unlocked characters in order to obtain these other mini kits and can only be obtained during free play.
Along with the mini kits there are also three challenges per level. Some of these you will inevitably get by accident, while others will require you to make a concerted effort to obtain them. There are 135 total challenges to accomplish, three for each of the 45 levels. Challenges are not identified in anyway, except for at the end of the level. For these challenges, you may want to find the information on the internet.
Throughout the Skywalker Saga there are 1166 Kyber Bricks that you must obtain in order to get 100% completion. Within each of the levels of the nine films there are six Kyber Brick. These are awarded for each of the following:
Obtaining “True Jedi” status
One for each of the three level challenges
Collecting all five minikits
That means that within the nine films there are 270 Kyber Bricks that are possible just for going through the levels and completing all of the challenges and obtaining True Jedi and collecting the minikits.
Kyber Bricks are used to make purchases that will help upgrade different character classes.
Character class upgrades will allow you to make improvements to various character classes. Some of these upgrades are for the “Base” class, which applies to all characters, while others are class specific. These upgrades cost a combination of Kyber Bricks and studs. As each of the upgrade levels goes up, it will cost both more in Kyber Bricks and studs. Studs are more easily obtainable.
Now that we have covered a few different aspects of the game play, let us turn to the Galaxy.
In the Skywalker Saga you can go to any of the planets across the Star Wars galaxy at any time. You do not need to finish any levels to access the planets. On each of the planets you will have a variety of mini puzzles to accomplish and characters to obtain. There are 25 different planets with at least two specific areas that you can travel to, and likely more. One of these is the “Space” around the planet and another is on land. Many of the places that you can land will be familiar and are places you have played during story mode. The total number of areas you can travel to is 55, and even some of these have areas that you are not directly accessible, except by taking a taxi (free) between areas on the planet.
Throughout the Star Wars galaxy there are a number of different quests that you can perform. The list includes:
140 Side Missions
All of these items can be accomplished whenever you would like. As is the case with many other aspects of Lego Star Wars Skywalker Saga, some of these will be easy, while others will be challenging.
As a note, the challenges listed above are different from the level challenges and are galaxy-wide challenges.
Throughout the Galaxy there are 19 datacards that can be collected. Each Datacard will allow you to unlock a special extra, like stud multipliers, or a special GONK companion. These are round in various worlds and will each cost studs to unlock. The stud multipliers are particularly expensive to purchase, but their cost will be made up somewhat quickly particularly if you have more than one multiplier enabled.
Rumors within Skywalker Saga are a way of learning information. This information may be quest specific, but it may also be just general information. You can purchase any rumor, in the Holographic in-game menu. The types of rumors you can purchase are for any of the side quests, galaxy-wide challenges, level challenges, or even minikit information. Rumors are not free and will cost you some studs to obtain. Here are a couple of screenshots showing the process.
No Xbox game is complete without at least some achievements. There are 45 achievements that can be triggered by completing actions. It is not likely that you will get all of them very quickly, in fact it will take a while. But, as you play it is inevitable that you will trigger at least some of them just through the natural course of the game.
Bugs and Glitches
No game is ever going to be 100% perfect, and the Skywalker Saga is no exception. However, compared to other Lego video games that I have played, this one did have fewer noticeable bugs, with the exception of those outlined below. One thing in particular that I did notice is that none of the achievements failed to trigger for me. All of them popped as expected, which has not been my experience in the past. Even though it was the most stable, there were still some bugs.
I ran into a few issues while playing the game. This includes not being able to advance in some levels, some levels not being able to be played in “Free Play”, and my favorite, is having the game glitch so bad that I could not get out of a loop where I dropped through the floor, was caught, and placed right back to the same place. This was annoying because I could not even move or switch characters so I could get out of the loop. Here is the video showing that glitch.
The second bug that I came across was in the level “C-3P-Oh No!”, in “The Rise of Skywalker”, where “Free Play” would not actually be work. Instead, it enters story mode. This bug only occurred when flying to the level and trying to select Free Play. If you use the Holographic level selection screen and select Free Play it worked as expected. Below is a video showing the bug.
Here is a video of a last bug that I encountered. This one is just a bug, it did not affect game play. One of the many quests is to collect various characters for someone else and this is just a bug where the camera angle obscures the actual collection of the character. It did not affect game play.
Beyond the bugs mentioned above, there is one thing that can be annoying. There are 1166 Kyber bricks to collect in order to get 100% completion. While I can appreciate a large game, having to do the same thing over and over does get monotonous after a while. If you are going to attempt to get 100% on the game, be prepared to spend a significant amount of time obtaining all of the items, collectibles, characters, and completing all of the levels and challenges.
A second annoyance that I encountered is regarding characters. Before we dive into that, we need to cover another feature. One aspect to the Lego games is the ability to unlock stud multipliers. There are five possible multipliers within the Skywalker Saga. These are the 2x, 4x, 6x, 8x, and 10x multipliers. These can be used in conduction to allow you to get a lot of studs fairly quickly.
With all of multipliers enabled you actually get 3,840 times the value of each studs that you collect. What this means is that for a silver (10) stud collected on the screen, you actually receive 38,400 studs. If you collect a 10000 stud, that means that you collect 38,400,000 studs. This can add up quickly and can be very helpful to obtain True Jedi status. Now, back to the characters.
Regarding the characters, it is not that there are too many characters, although there are certainly quite a lot of them, the issue is that you have to “purchase” each one of them individually within the game. What would be nice to see is a way of being able to purchase all available ones in a single go.
I can see where having this feature early in the game could easily go awry and have someone inadvertently purchase all of the available characters and then no longer have the studs to do perform other tasks. In order to avoid this, it could possibly be that the option would not appear until after you have unlocked all of the stud multipliers. This way, even if someone accidentally does this, it will not take long for someone to acquire the studs again.
The same would also apply to ships, although there are significantly fewer of them, but it could be helpful to that option for those as well. However, this approach would not make sense regarding upgrading character classes because upgrading character classes does require a bit of thought depending on what functions you need at the time.
The last annoyance is actually regarding some of the battles. For some of the battles, like when you are facing Count Dooku on the ship, your character has a particular perspective. While I understand the need for this, it can be quite annoying, particularly if you are attempting to get a Kyber Brick or complete a challenge. This is because you cannot change the perspective, and in this particular instance, even switching characters does not allow for freely looking around, the perspective remains the same no matter what character you are using.
As with any game you end up learning things as you play the game. Lego Skywalker Saga is no different and I thought I would provide you some tips that may come in handy for when you play.
Unlock the stud multipliers as soon as possible. As outlined above, the sooner these are unlocked the quicker you can collect studs.
Along with stud multiplier, the stud magnet is a good thing to unlock as well. This may be something you want to unlock after you unlock the 2x and 4x stud multipliers.
Be sure to upgrade character classes as you go, there are some additional capabilities which may be useful in the game.
Be sure to explore the capital ships. They contain some goodies.
Make use of the mission tracking capabilities and do not be afraid of hopping from planet to planet.
Do no expect to be able to do everything in order, it is just not possible.
Talk to non-player characters no matter where you are. You can learn quite a bit from these characters.
Lego Star Wars: Skywalker Saga does go through all of the nine films and does a pretty good job of recreating the experience of the films. While the game does have some bugs, at least as of this writing which is less than two months after it launched, it has far fewer bugs that previous Lego games. This makes the game quite a bit more enjoyable to play.
Even though the game is enjoyable overall, it might start to feel like Groundhog Day when you are doing the same things over and over. It may be advisable to break up tasks and do various things throughout the galaxy. The game is ambitious and a giant galaxy. That being said, you will likely want to consult some walkthrough and hints to figure out how to achieve some tasks throughout the game play.
If you have a significant amount of time that you want to use playing a game, you could possibly put it towards Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. There is a lot that the game has to offer. I have not calculated how long I have spent playing the game, but it is a significant amount of time. I looked at the amount of time that I spent on the game and it took me just under 129 hours total to reach 100% in the game. Therefore, if you do pick it up you will absolutely get your money’s worth when playing, unlike some other games.
This is another article in that series. This one will cover the original Apple TV.
Apple TV Introduction
Typically, when Apple introduces a new product they do not pre-announce it. However, there is are exceptions to this. The only exceptions is when Apple introduces a new product line, that requires certification by regulation agencies, like the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC. The reason for this is that Apple would rather control the introduction and information as opposed to having it be released by another agency.
Apple initially announced the Apple TV, then called the iTV, in September of 2006. You can watch the introduction video below.
On March 21st, 2007 Apple began shipping the Apple TV. So let us look back at the 1st generation Apple TV.
Apple TV (1st Generation)
Of course at its release it was not called the 1st generation Apple TV, it was just the Apple TV. The original Apple TV was a smaller and thinner version of another Apple product, the Mac mini.
In fact, the physical size of the Apple TV was 7.7 inches by 7.7 inches by about 1.1 inches tall. This would fit nicely in a stereo cabinet with other devices.
The original Apple TV had two different connection types, HDMI and component video. The reason for both is that not all TVs at the time had HDMI connections, but many at least had component.
The Apple TV was limited to either 480p or 720p when playing video. However, the interface could be shown at 1080p.
The Apple TV also had an ethernet jack as well, only a 10/100 Mbps connection. This was enough bandwidth to easily stream from a computer to the Apple TV. Ethernet was not on the only connection you could use.
I know I tended to use Wireless more often than the wired connection. The Apple TV could connect to 802.11a/b/g/n. Even 802.11g would be fast enough for streaming 720p video, and since 802.11n was faster, it was definitely able to handle it. However, there was one area the speed would be even more beneficial, and that was the primary use case, syncing.
Syncing with iTunes
The Apple TV was effectively a giant iPod. This meant that you could connect the Apple TV to iTunes and synchronize data over to it. The Apple TV would appear in iTunes and you could then choose the movies, podcasts, or TV shows to synchronize.
Storage and Pricing
The Apple TV came in two storage sizes, a 40GB or a 160GB model. Both of these were 5400RPM 2.5-inch laptop hard drives. The 40GB model cost $299 and the 160GB model cost $399.
The first-generation Apple TV contained a low-power Intel processor. This made sense because the Apple TV was developed early into Apple’s transition to Intel processor. Specifically it has a 1.0 GHz Intel Pentium M. It had 256MB of RAM with an integrated Nvidia GeForce Go graphics card with 64 Megabytes of dedicated video RAM.
The way that you interacted with the Apple TV was by using a white plastic remote. This was the same remote that was included with iMacs at the time. You could also use an aluminum remote as well.
These remotes have a four way directional pad with a click button in the middle.
Apple also introduced an iOS app that would allow you to connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to use the Apple TV. Sometimes it was easier to use the iOS iTunes Remote, particularly when you needed to enter in a password.
Even though the Apple TV started shipping in March, it was not until May 5th, 2007 that I actually picked up an Apple TV. The model I got was the 40GB model. This was because it was cheaper at $299 and it was the most I was willing to spend at the time.
The Apple TV was a spur of the moment type of purchase and not one that I had really planned on making. I distinctly remember where I bought it from, it was a Circuit City. I was looking through some old paperwork and I ran across the receipt at some point recently. Although, now I cannot seem to find the original receipt.
The original Apple TV Today
Unlike many old Macs, you cannot really use the original Apple TV in its original configuration today. Since iTunes is no longer able to sync, you cannot add any media to the device.
There still is one thing that you can do with the 1st generation Apple TV, it was possible to use it as an AirPlay destination. I was not able to get my video to AirPlay to the Apple TV, but I could get music to AirPlay successfully. Therefore, if you have an original Apple TV you can still use it for at least one thing. The AirPlaying was done with my mid-2017 iMac running macOS Monterey.
Personally, I do not use my original Apple TV anymore. I have since upgraded to several of the newer models. I do still use the first generation Apple TV as a way of raising up my iMac or another monitor, depending on what I need. When I did briefly plug the first generation Apple TV again, the hard drive was a bit nosier than I had remembered, but it was still operational.
The Apple TV was a good device for its time. Even though it required you to sync data over to it, the speed of the wireless connection, with 802.11N, or even the 100Mbps ethernet connection, would synchronize data fairly quickly.
The fact that it was the same physical footprint as the Mac mini allowed it fit nicely into an entertainment center with other devices. The Intel Pentium M processor was a lower speed, but allowed for passive cooling, so there was no fan noise.
There is one spot where there might be noise, and that would be the 40GB or 160GB spinning hard drive could be the place where noise would be heard, particularly as the device got on in age.
The Apple TV cannot really be used with any modern Mac, with the exception of being an AirPlay destination. Therefore, if you do have the need for a TV and you still have an original Apple TV, you could still use it.
When Apple announced the Studio Display I ended up buying one. You can read my full review of the Studio Display.. When I ordered the Apple Studio Display I knew I was going to use it with my iMac. In fact, I ended up using it as my primary monitor. After I connected and setup the Apple Studio Display I started looking at various aspects. One of the things that I tried out were the speakers on the Studio Display.
The speakers on the Studio Display are significantly better than those in my 2017 iMac, even though they are better, I wanted to see if I could use all of the speakers at the same time. I knew that the iMac speakers would not be as good, but they would still be something.
During this testing, the screen on my iMac began to crack. I did not know if it would stop or if it would continue to expand. Therefore, I ended up buying a Mac Studio and a second Studio Display. You can read my review of the Mac Studio.
With both the iMac and the Mac Studio, I tried looking to see if macOS could do this natively, but I could not find a way of being able to output to both the Studio Display and the iMac speakers at the same time. macOS only lets you choose a single output at a time.
I thought about which apps that I knew of that I could use that would be able to output to both deices at the same time. I knew it was an app from Rogue Amoeba, who is a prominent Mac developer who specializes in Mac audio apps. They have a couple well-known apps, Audio Hijack and SoundSource, but I knew neither of these were the one I was thinking of. I ended up going to their website to figure out the name. The app I was thinking of is Loopback. We will get to how I use Loopback in a bit, but first let us look at how I use audio most of the time.
A vast majority of time I listen to just about everything using my headphones. This could be music, an audiobook, or podcasts. When I am listening to audio I am almost always using my headphones paired with my iPhone. The reason I do this is because I can listen to audio whenever I go without having to pause it or move the audio between devices.
There are those times that I may want to briefly checkout a video that someone has sent me and instead of using my iPhone, I will likely use the Mac I am on. I do this so that I do not need to necessarily pause the audio I am listening to. Even with this there are times when I would like to listen to music while doing other things on my Mac and not have to use my headphones. For those times, I want to be able to have the music sound as good as possible, and internal speakers on the Macs I own are just not good enough. And this is where Loopback can come in handy.
Loopback is an app that allows you route audio from any Mac app, or input, to another app, or any audio output. For inputs, this can be a microphone, an app, or another input. Some examples of inputs can be a game system, or stream deck, a microphone, or even just the macOS system audio.
When you first start up Loopback you will be shown a Quick Tour. A good description of what Loopback is capable of comes straight from the first page on this Quick Tour. It states:
“Loopback’s magic is built on its ability to create “virtual audio devices”, which appear on your system exactly like a physical device. These virtual devices merge sound from multiple applications and inputs into a single source. Virtual devices pull audio from source apps and devices, then routes it with a set of channel mappings. In seconds, you can get a virtual audio device configured, then select it as an input or output in any audio application on your system.”
There are three possible items within a Loopback device, a Source, Output Channels, and Monitors. A default Loopback device will two items defined, a “Pass-Thru” source, and a single two-channel item.
A “Pass-Thru” device is a virtual sound output device that can be used to, as the name suggest, pass output to the device to Loopback for processing. Before we dive further into Loopback, let us look at the setup.
Setup (With a BIG Caveat)
There is one caveat when it comes to installing Loopback, and that caveat is a rather large one.In order to get Loopback running on an Apple Silicon machine you will need to change the security model of macOS. This is done by entering into recovery mode and then changing the “Security Mode” to “Reduced Security”. The reason that this is required is because on Apple Silicon machines Kernel Extensions are not allowed to load by default, and it takes a deliberate action to allow these items to run.
It should be noted that you cannot run Loopback without changing the security settings on an Apple Silicon Mac and then subsequently allowing the extension after reboot.
I would like to see do a more in-depth vetting of some companies and allow them to run within the “Full Security” mode. This would likely require a change to the overall approach to macOS, so it is not likely to occur, but it could be something that Apple could take on, if they chose to do so. Now, let us get back to Loopback.
Naming a Device in Loopback
Given that you can have as many loopback devices as you would like, you will want to keep them all straight. This is best accomplished by providing them with a descriptive, or at least easily identifiable name. To name a device, perform these steps:
On the left side, Locate the Loopback Audio device that you want to rename
Click on the Loopback Audio Device you want to rename.
On the right pane, Click on the “pencil” icon next to the name.
Enter in the new name for the device.
Either press the “Enter” key or click outside of the edit box.
That is all it takes to rename a device. Now that you have the item named, you may want to actually use it for the system. Let us look at that next.
Loopback Device as Output
The “Pass-Thru” loopback item is the key to being able to use multiple speakers simultaneously. As mentioned earlier, the Pass-Thru is a virtual device. What this means is that it is available as a virtual speaker device. This means that you can set the output for your Mac to the Loopback device. The way that you are able to have Loopback perform any of the processing that you have specified within your Loopback setup.
To set a device as the system output device, perform the following steps:
Open System Preferences
Click on the “Sound” system preference pane.
Click on the “Output” item at the top of the screen.
Locate the output device that you want to use as your system output.
Click on the output device you want to use as the system output.
As soon as you click on the output device, the system audio should change to the Loopback device. Now that we have that covered, let us look at how I have configured Loopback to be able to output to multiple speakers simultaneously.
Multiple Speakers for Output
The Studio Display has a set of six stereo speakers which can easily out perform many other audio setups. The real question is how do you get dual Studio Displays to output audio at the same time. Let us look at how I managed to accomplish that.
Before I came across the final setup, I tried a couple of different approaches that ultimately were not right. Let us look at some of those false starts next.
I did manage to go through a couple of different iterations for the Loopback setup to try and create a dual speaker setup before I added a new Loopback Device and set everything back to its defaults, which is what I actually wanted.
Before I stumbled on using the default setup, I tried another setup. It looked like this:
As you can see I specified the Music app as the source, since it is the primary app I wanted to control, I had a single set of channel outputs, for channels 1 and 2. The left channel was connected to every other output channel. Similarly, the right channel was placed on the remaining outputs.
There were two issues with this approach, other than being the actual wrong approach. First, only one of Studio Display’s volume outputs could be controlled with the function keys on the Mac keyboard. This ultimately meant that I would have to manually adjust the volume for the other Studio Display.
The second issue is that the configuration ends up negating some features of songs. In particular, by linking outputs to each channel on the Studio Displays, if a song is mastered for Dolby Atmos, the Music app would no longer be able to properly provide the full Atmos experience.
Another iteration that I tried was a similar one, but instead of just two output channels I had setup eight channels with the left and right channels going to each of the corresponding channels on each set of channels. Each of the channels is then connected to each corresponding channel on the Studio Displays. The same issues existed for this approach as the last ones. Instead, the best approach is actually a rather simple one.
The setup that I ended up with, is, actually very simple. If you are using Loopback, it is actually quite simple. All I did was add both Studio Displays as “Monitors”. Once I did this, anything that is pushed through the Pass-Thru device will be output to both Studio Displays simultaneously.
Here is my actual setup:
The actual setup is deceptively simple. It uses the default Pass-Thru device, connected to a single two-channel output, and then the left and right channels are connected to the proper corresponding channel on each of my Studio Displays. With this setup, and by setting the default audio output to “Studio Displays”, and that is all I need to do.
This still does have a couple of downsides. First, some apps will have their own preferences for which device to use for output, therefore may have to set the app’s specific output. This may be a choice that you made previously, or the app could have some other undefined behavior. Typically, this is easy enough to fix, but it is something to be aware of.
While taking screenshots of Loopback, I did come up with another possible setup. This one is similar to the one that I set up as my final one, but instead of setting up left and right on each of the Studio Displays, I came up with the idea of connecting the left channels to one Studio Display and the right channels to the other Studio Display.
Things Not to Try
Throughout all of my testing I went through a number of iterations to see what might work. One of them was to output to a HomePod mini. I can unequivocally say, do not bother. The reason I say do not bother is not because it does not sound great, it absolutely does, but the HomePod mini has a significant delay when outputting to the HomePod mini along with any other speakers. It can easily become problematic and you can begin to get a headache trying to listen to anything on another set of speakers at the same time as the HomePod mini.
The way that I am using Loopback is just one way of using it. Loopback is capable of routing audio from any device or app to any app or device. Loopback is what Apple should have built into macOS, but they have not. Therefore, Loopback is needed to fill in the void.
If you have a Studio Display connected to a Mac, it might be worthwhile to take a look at Loopback and see if you will be able to have audio output to all of your speakers simultaneously. Loopback is capable of doing so much more than I have covered here. What I described above only scratches the surface of what is possible with Loopback. This is just a single possible use case for the app, but one that might be particularly helpful if you have multiple Studio Displays.
It was not that long ago that I had commented to my friend Barry Sullivan that Apple needed to determine what they were going to do with the iPod touch, either increase the screen size to 4.7 inches, to bring it inline with the iPhone SE, or cancel the product outright. They opted for the latter. Today Apple announced that they are discontinuing the iPod touch, the last in a long line of iPod products.
The iPod was initially introduced on October 23rd, 2001 with the first generation iPod. In September of 2007, Apple introduced the iPod touch as “the iPhone minus the phone”. The iPod touch was a widescreen iPod and device that many felt safe giving to their kids instead of a full-fledged iPhone. In the newsroom post, Apple states:
Among the incredible ways to enjoy music across a range of devices, including a wide variety of models from the new iPhone SE to the latest iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone is the best device for streaming Apple Music or storing an entire music library on the go. Apple Watch and AirPods are the perfect companion, allowing users to access over 90 million songs right from their wrist, starting at just $279 with Apple Watch SE. iPad starts at just $329, comes with a more powerful chip, larger display and the latest iPadOS features. And for the best way to enjoy music at home, HomePod mini is just $99.
One thing I would like to point out about the above paragraph. It is somewhat disingenuous to say that someone can purchase an Apple Watch SE and listen to music. This is because it requires an iPhone to setup an Apple Watch. Yes, an Apple Watch could be added for another person in a family, but at that point it is not fully standalone. Therefore, someone wanting to get a device to download and listen to their music on the go has to pay at least $329 for an iPad. If they want to only listen at one location, and only stream Apple Music, then the HomePod mini is the way to go.
I cannot say that I am surprised by this decision. The 7th generation iPod touch was introduced on May 28th, of 2019 and has not been updated since. It took Apple a few months to even update the webpages when the 7th generation was introduced. So, it is not surprising that the product is being discontinued.
I myself was never much of an iPod touch person. I do have a 7th generation iPod touch that I use mostly for development and testing, but it is not something I use day to day. Even though the iPod touch was not for me, I did own a fair number of iPods over the years. A 1st generation iPod mini, the 1st generation iPod nano, the 6th generation iPod nano, and a 7th generation iPod nano, and a 5th generation 30GB iPod.
The discontinuation of the iPod touch does have some overall implications. First, for many instead of purchasing an iPod touch for their kids, many are now more likely to pass down old iPhones that do not have cellular plans. Second, for developers, the iPod touch has always been an outlier. It has the smallest screen size available at 4 inches. Trying to create interfaces that work at the variety of sizes available can be challenging. Being able to slowly drop support for the 4-inch screen should make development a bit easier, in the long run anyway.
It is sad to see the iPod line come to an end, but since the introduction of the iPhone, the sales of iPods has been decreasing. The iPod touch has not been a big seller for Apple for many years now. And the iPhone is a much more capable device, particularly in the world of streaming music.
We are now well into the spring and April is now over and May has begun. It is time to provide my reading list for April 2022.
For the month I listened to 22 different titles, of these 6 were new titles, or 27.2%. The title I want to highlight for April is “Still Just a Geek” by Wil Wheaton.
Celebrated actor, personality, and all-around nerd, Wil Wheaton updates his memoir of collected blog posts with all new material and annotations as he reexamines one of the most interesting lives in Hollywood and fandom–and now for the first time in audio, narrated by Wil himself!
From starring in Stand by Me to playing Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation to playing himself, in his second (third?) iconic role of Evil Wil Wheaton in The Big Bang Theory, to becoming a social media supernova, Wil Wheaton has charted a career course unlike anyone else, and has emerged as one of the most popular and well respected names in science fiction, fantasy and pop culture.
Back in 2001, Wil began blogging on wilwheaton.net. Believing himself to have fallen victim to the curse of the child actor, Wil felt relegated to the convention circuit, and didn’t expect many would want to read about his random experiences and personal philosophies.
Yet, much to his surprise, people were reading. He still blogs, and now has an enormous following on social media with well over 3 million followers.
In Still Just a Geek, Wil revisits his 2004 collection of blog posts, Just a Geek, filled with insightful and often laugh-out-loud annotated comments, additional later writings, and all new material written for this publication. The result is an incredibly raw and honest memoir, in which Wil opens up about his life, about falling in love, about coming to grips with his past work, choices, and family, and finding fulfillment in the new phases of his career. From his times on the Enterprise to his struggles with depression to his starting a family and finding his passion–writing–Wil Wheaton is someone whose life is both a cautionary tale and a story of finding one’s true purpose that should resonate with fans and aspiring artists alike.”
Note There are some trigger warnings for “Still Just a Geek”. There are some aspects which might be hard to listen to, so be warned.
If you opt to listen to the audiobook, you can listen to Wil read it himself, which is a very interesting experience given that the book is an annotated and expanded version of “Just a Geek”.
For May, I am not sure how many titles I will listen to. I know I mentioned that there is at least one new item for March, April, and May, but the new title for May is not released until May 31st, so we will see if there is a new title for May or not.
Today Apple announced that their previously announced repair service is now available. While you may think that it is being run by Apple, it is not. Apple has contracted with a third-party to handle ordering of parts. The service repair site is available at https://www.selfservicerepair.com/.
The Self Service Repair Service site allow you to order parts that can repair a phone from the iPhone 12 line, a phone from the iPhone 13 line, or the 3rd generation iPhone SE.
In order to be able to order anything, you will want to look at the repair manuals, which are available on the Apple support site. After you have determined what item, or items, you need for your repair you can order the necessary parts. In order to purchase parts, you will need a valid IMEI or serial number. This is so the site can verify that the parts will work for the device.
The Self Service Repair site will allow you to order tools, as well as the parts. However, it is possible that you may not want to purchase the tools. For these instances, you can rent tools for $49 for a seven day rental. The tools that would be sent are the ones that are specific for your device. The rental option is helpful if you only need to do one repair.
There is one last thing to note, all of the prices on the site are the same ones that Apple charges standard third-party repair companies, so there are no surcharges for parts or tools.
If you are one who is wants to be able to try and repair their own device, it may be worth going through the Apple Self Service Repair program to get your parts and tools.
If you were able to time travel back to 2007 and give someone the list of Mac desktops from March 17th, 2022, they would not see any differences. Not a single one. Back in 2007 there were three desktop models, the Mac mini, the iMac, and the Mac Pro. Yes, the form factor, designs, and internals have all changed, but someone the actual devices and their place in the lineup would be instantly understood and comprehended.
It is not often that Apple introduces a new Mac model to the lineup. But, that is exactly what Apple has done. That device, is the Mac Studio. Before we dive into the Mac Studio, let us briefly look at recent Apple desktops.
Brief History of recent Apple Desktops
Apple has always had desktop computers. Their first computer, the Apple I, was a desktop. Apple has continually improved their desktops through the mid 1990s. The problem with the approach that Apple was taking in the mid-90s was that they were really no different than PCs. In fact, they were allowing companies to clone the Mac and as many who used the clones during the time would say, they are not very good. That changed when Apple cofounder Steve Jobs returned to the company. Shortly after his return to Apple, he introduced a new product, the iMac.
The iMac was an all-in-one device that was self-contained, no separate monitor and computer. Apple continued to update and refine the iMac to include a flat-panel display. The iMac was the first device that Steve Jobs re-introduced after he returned to Apple and became interim CEO in 1997, after Apple purchased NeXT. The iMac has continued to be updated and changed since its introduction in 1998.
In 2012 Apple introduced a new iMac size, to go with the 27-inch model. That size was the 21.5-inch model. In 2014 Apple introduced a revision that was the first retina version. The 27-inch iMac was updated in mid-2015, late 2015, mid-2017, early-2019, and mid-2020.
High-end Mac Languishing
Throughout the mid-2010s many Mac users were questioning what Apple was doing with the Mac. The reason that this was being questioned is because it seemed as though the Mac had stagnated and was not getting the attention that many thought it deserved. This was particularly true in 2015 and 2016 where the high-end of Mac line had not seen any meaningful changes in the Mac Pro. At the time, the model was last updated in 2013, but that model was a revolutionary design, a cylinder.
In April 2017 Apple convened a roundtable for journalists that re-iterated the fact that the Mac was not dead and that they were still committed to the Mac. At the roundtable Apple indicated that “we’ll see improved iMacs that Apple feels will appeal to a segment of Pro users”.
Specifically at the Mac roundtable in 2017, Apple’s Phil Schiller stated:
“As part of doing a new Mac Pro — it is, by definition, a modular system — we will be doing a Pro display as well. Now you won’t see any of those products this year; we’re in the process of that. We think it’s really important to create something great for our pro customers who want a Mac Pro modular system, and that’ll take longer than this year to do.”
While it would take a bit for the new Mac Pro, more on that in a bit, it was not long after that meeting where Apple would introduce a new product, the iMac Pro.
Introduced at their World Wide Developer Conference in June of 2017, the iMac Pro was a more professional iMac. The iMac Pro had the same physical dimensions of the regular 27-inch iMac, but it had entirely redesigned internals. The iMac Pro was aimed at more professional users. The iMac Pro included workstation-level processors, the Intel Xeon line, as well as error-correcting code, or ECC, memory.
Beyond the workstation graphics and ECC memory, the iMac Pro also included a 1TB solid state drive, which was possible with the standard 27-inch iMac, but this was still during the spinning hard drive era of the iMac. There was 32GB of memory as a base, but could be upgraded to 256GB of memory, if desired.
The iMac Pro also included a dedicated AMD Radeon Pro Vega video card, with up to 16 Gigabytes of dedicated graphics memory. The iMac Pro was not an inexpensive machine. Not by any means at all. The iMac Pro had a starting price of $4,999, so nobody would buy this on a whim. The iMac Pro was a one-off product that continued to be sold until March of 2021, when Apple announced that they would stop producing the iMac Pro and would continue to sell the iMac Pro until supplies ran out.
Even though Apple stopped selling the iMac Pro, there was still the other professional Mac, the Mac Pro.
When the iMac Pro was introduced, some had speculated that the iMac Pro was intended to be the top of the line Mac and that the Mac Pro was no longer going to be updated. But, that was not the case, because Apple explicitly stated that they were working on a new Mac Pro, but it would not be coming in 2017. In fact, it would not be introduced until two years after the introduction of the iMac.
There is the 2019 Mac Pro, which was unveiled at WWDC in June of 2019 and went on sale in December of 2019. Introducing the Mac Pro at WWDC was the right decision because one large segment of power users are developers.
At the same event as the introduction of the Mac Pro Apple also released their first all-new standalone display in nearly 9 years, and three years after selling standalone displays. That product is the Pro Display XDR.
I could dive deep into the Mac Pro and the Pro Display XDR, but that is not the primary focus of this review. Even though it’s not the focus, it is important that we keep in mind both the iMac and iMac Pro, because they come into play with a new Mac desktop, the Mac Studio. We will look at the Mac Studio in a bit, but before we do, let us look at a bit more history. Let us turn to my personal history with Mac Desktops.
Personal History with Mac Desktops
March 28th, 2022 marked the 15th anniversary of me using a Mac. As I posted in my retrospective, my first Mac was the Late 2006 20-inch iMac that I purchased in March of 2007. According to some, including @TweetDowns, I am merely a “rookie”, when it comes to using Macs. I take no offense to being called a “rookie” even though I have been using a Mac for 15 years, because there are those who have been using them for far longer than I have.
If you have been reading the site for a while you likely notice that I end up getting a new iPhone and a new Apple Watch every year. One thing that you may also notice is that while I end up buying a new iPhone and Apple Watch every year, I tend to use my Macs for quite a bit longer. In fact, in my time using Macs, I have owned four Mac desktops, all three have been iMacs. These models have been Late 2006 20-inch iMac (purchased in March of 2007), a Mid-2011 21.5-inch iMac (purchased in July of 2011), and a Mid-2017 27-inch iMac (purchased in July of 2017). On average I end up replacing my Mac desktop every five years. And it has been just about five years time to replace it. I do not exclusively use Mac desktops though, I also have owned some Mac Laptops. Unlike desktops I have only owned two laptops. These are the Mid-2007 13-inch Black MacBook and the early-2015 13-inch MacBook Pro.
On a side note, astute and diligent readers may remember that I also have a base-model Mac mini (M1, 2020), and they may be wondering why I did not include that one in my list. Well dear reader, that is a good observation. The reason I did not include it is that the Mac mini has not been my “daily” computer. It use it exclusively for testing app builds and running beta versions of macOS. It uses an entirely different account and has none of my personal data. With that, I decided to not include it in my list of desktop Macs.
When I started thinking about which device to replace, my mid-2017 iMac or my early-2015 MacBook Pro, I was initially leaning towards replacing my MacBook Pro, since it is now seven years old. While making these decisions I could not decide whether or not to just get one replacement machine, a MacBook Pro with higher specifications, or continue with my two-computer setup.
It turned there was something that caused me to end up replacing my iMac. The thing that prompted the replacement was that the iMac screen began to crack. I noticed the initial crack in March of 2021 and at the time it was small crack and it was stable for almost a year. But, over the course of about month it started to expand from that one inch (2.54cm) crack to be 18 inches (45.72cm) overall.
Once the crack started expanding, that is when I decided to replace the iMac. I ended up buying a Mac Studio with a Studio Display. I will not cover the Studio Display, at least not in-depth, because I did an entire review of the Studio Display. The Studio Display will absolutely come up in the review, but it will be in context of the Mac Studio, and now onto my review of the Mac Studio.
Apple introduced the Mac Studio last month, in March of 2022 at their “Peek Performance” event. This is the first new all new Macintosh design since 2006 with the Mac Pro. After the event Apple also did something else, they quietly removed the 27-inch iMac from sale. This makes sense, given that they introduced a standalone display, the Apple Studio Display, at the same event.
When Apple introduced Apple Silicon at their World Wide Developer Conference in 2020, many thought it would be an opportunity for Apple to redesign all of the Mac models. However, the first models with Apple Silicon did not have any redesign, not even some internals were changed. This makes complete sense to use this approach. The reason that this makes sense is that if you do not change anything then you can do all of your development in secret without anybody knowing that something new is coming. This is exactly what Apple did for their first round of Apple Silicon devices, the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and the Mac mini.
Even though Apple used the exact same enclosures and ports for their first round of machines, they did not continue to do that for newer models. While the MacBook Pros were not the first ones to get a redesign, they were the most anticipated The most anticipated updates were the higher-end MacBook Pros. In particular, Apple redesigned the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Along with the 16-inch MacBook Pro came a smaller model, the 14-inch MacBook Pro alongside it. The exterior of these laptops were redesigned including ports that users had been asking for, including MagSafe charging, HDMI, and an SD Card slot.
The first device to see a significant change was actually the 21,5-inch iMac. The 21.5-inch iMac got such a redesign that it was actually replaced with the 24-inch iMac. The 24-inch iMac was a radical change that included a set of new colors, an external power brick with a built-in ethernet cable, and a thin screen. While the 24-inch iMac was a great design, many were waiting for the replacement for the 27-inch iMac. That replacement is the Mac Studio.
The bottom of the Mac Studio is very reminiscent of a device that was unveiled in September of 2006 and released in March of 2007, the original Apple TV. The similarities are that they have approximately the same physical size, but the item that is most similar is that both of the devices have rubber element that is covering the entry point to the device. It is a full rubber pad for the original Apple TV and a rubber ring for the Mac Studio. Another similarity, the rubber ring, or pad, will be completely destroyed if you try to remove it. It was possible to remove the Apple TV rubber pad, but more often than not you would ruin it.
The physical dimensions of the Mac Studio are 7.7 inches (19.7cm) by 7.7 inches (19.7cm) by 3.7 inches (9.5cm). The is the same physical footprint as Mac mini and the original Apple TV. The Mac Studio is significantly taller than the Mac mini, which stands at 1.4 inches (3.6cm). This is just a bit over two Mac minis tall.
On the front of the Mac Studio is a power light indicator. This light is not super bright, which is good, but it is bright enough to be able to easily see no matter how much ambient light is available. I do not know if the light’s intensity is because it is how the type of light that Apple sourced is designed, or if Apple added a bit of diffusion within the case of the Mac Studio.
The Mac Studio is a somewhat heavy device, at least compared to the Mac mini. In fact, the Mac Studio is 5.9 pounds, or 2.7 kilograms. The Mac mini is 2.6 pounds, or 1.2 kilograms. The Mac Studio is 2.25x heavier. This somewhat makes sense because the Mac Studio is more than two Mac minis on top of each other. The difference in weight is partially the case for the Mac Studio but a majority of it is due to the fan assembly and heatsink. The M1 Ultra is slightly heavier at 7.9 pounds, or 3.6 kilograms. The reason for the M1 Ultra being even heavier is due to the copper heatsink that provides even better heat dissipation.
It is not often that you will move the Mac Studio, but it is something to be aware of should you need to move it on a regular basis. Next, let us look at the modularity of the Mac Studio.
When Apple introduced the Mac Studio they discussed that the Mac Studio is modular. When Apple mentioned this many likely thought “wait, this is the Mac Pro mini that was rumored”. Unfortunately for them, that is not the modularity that Apple was talking about. When Apple mentioned modularity they meant that the screen and computer are both modular. Meaning, that you could replace either of the items instead of needing to replace both at once.
This approach does have its merits, in particular the fact that you are more likely to upgrade the Mac instead of the display. I know that is my intention for the Mac Studio and Studio Display. I intend to use the Studio Display for a long while and I am more likely to replace the Mac Studio before the Studio Display.
There is another aspect to “modularity” when it comes to the Mac Studio. Unlike many of Apple’s other Macs, the storage is not soldered onto the logic board for the Mac Studio. This means that Apple can easily provide additional storage options, but more on that later.
I think this was deliberately done. As my friend, and editor of my books, Barry Sullivan astutely pointed out, the Mac Studio is designed to be the replacement for both the 27-inch iMac as well as the iMac Pro. When he mentioned this, it instantly made sense that it was exactly what Apple had intended to do, and just reinforced Apple’s decision to remove the 27-inch iMac from sale. The best way to illustrate this is by explaining the two System-on-a-Chip, or SoC, options available for the Mac Studio.
Apple Silicon on Mac Studio
Apple Silicon is Apple’s replacement for using Intel processors in the Mac. The plan to transition away from Intel was unveiled at Apple’s WWDC 2020. The first Apple Silicon machines, with the designation of M1, went on sale in November of 2020 with the introduction of three machines, the M1 MacBook Air, the M1 13-inch MacBook Pro, and the M1 Mac mini.
Any Apple Silicon chip is significantly different than a traditional computer setup because it is a System on a Chip, or SoC. With Apple Silicon there is no difference between the system memory and the graphical memory. This means that there are significant improvements in speed due to both the main system memory and graphics memory being a single pool and there is no penalty for moving memory between the CPU and GPU, which requires time. With Apple Silicon there is no delay.
One of the things that Apple has been able to do with the transition to Apple Silicon is to make the processor line up a bit easier to understand. The line up of chips is quite straightforward. There are four chips in the M1 line. These chips are:
M1 (no moniker)
As you progress the capabilities of each system on a chip changes and improves.
Neural Engine Cores
If you look at the progression of the SoCs you will see that as the chips progress, the maximum amount of memory doubles. This is absolutely the case between M1 Max and the M1 Ultra.
The Mac Studio has two different processor options; the M1 Max and the M1 Ultra. The M1 Max has two variants, one with 24 GPU cores and another with 32 GPU cores. The M1 Ultra variants are exactly double that of the M1 Max, therefore the M1 Ultra has 20 CPU cores, with 16 performance cores, and 4 efficiency cores, and 32 Neural engine cores. There are also two variants, one with 48 GPU cores or the second with 64 GPU cores.
The M1 Ultra is actually two M1 Max chips paired together with a connector, called “UltraFusion”. When a developer hears or reads “two M1 Max chips together”, they are likely to instantly be put on guard. The reason for this is that when there you have two processors that typically means that you, as the developer, needs to handle addressing the various processors and memory on their own.
However, that is not the case. From the perspective of macOS, the M1 Ultra is still seen as single processor, which means that developers do not need to perform any special programming to be able to take advantage of the additional bandwidth, cores, and memory. Instead, macOS can handle all of it for you.
I think that Apple intentionally chose the M1 Max and M1 Ultra as the options for the Mac Studio, to directly replace the 27-inch iMac and the iMac Pro; with the M1 Max being the equivalent of the 27-inch iMac and the M1 Ultra being the equivalent of iMac Pro.
The M1 Max and M1 Ultra both run at 3.2GHz, just as is the case with all of the M1 processors, including the M1 and M1 Pro. Next, let us look at what ports are available on the Mac Studio.
One thing that people often need to do with their device is attach devices. What is attached could be a variety of items, like external hard drives, thumb drives or any other external device. While some MacBooks and MacBook Pros have had a limited number of ports, including the single USB-C port on the 12-inch MacBook, Apple’s desktops have always had many ports. The Mac Studio is no exception to this.
The Mac Studio has a number of ports. Unlike all other desktop Macs, and even the aforementioned 27-inch iMac and iMac Pro, there are ports on the front of the Mac Studio. There are actually a dozen ports for the Mac Studio. The entire list includes:
Four Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports
Two USB-A ports
One HDMI port
One 10Gbps ethernet port
One 3.5mm Headphone port
Two USB-C (Two Thunderbolt 4 with the M1 Ultra)
One SDXC slot
This is a large number of ports. In fact, this is the largest number of ports that are built-in on any Mac sold today. You can easily add more ports on the Mac Pro with add-in cards, but the Mac Studio has more built-in ports than even the Mac Pro. The Mac Pro has eight included ports, as compared to the Mac Studio’s 12 included ports. <b>Note</b>, the Mac Pro does have two ports on the top of the machine, so one might argue that these are the equivalent of “front” ports, because they are very convenient for users to plugin transient items.
The front ports on the Mac Studio can vary depending on which SoC is in the machine. For the M1 Max you will get two USB-C ports, while the M1 Max will have two Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports. The reason for this is that there is more bandwidth available to support Thunderbolt on those two ports.
The nature of technology is generally a forward march of progress. However, sometimes that forward momentum requires some legacy ports to be brought along. In 1998 when the original iMac was released there were no “legacy” ports. At the time this would have included SCSI, parallel, 3.5-inch floppy, VGA, or even standard keyboard and mouse connectors. Instead, Apple went all in on USB because it was the future of technology. In hindsight, that was the right call. PCs had included USB for a while, but they still had legacy ports as well as USB ports.
As much as we would like to get rid of old technology it is not easy to do. Even 26 years after its initial introduction, the original USB plug, called “Type A”, is still on the Mac Studio. There are only two USB-A ports and 6 USB-C ports. If you need more than two USB-A ports, you have a couple of options, you can either get an adapter or you can get a USB-A hub to add even more ports.
The SDXC card slot is a port that not everybody will end up using. I know I am not likely to use it, not that I will never use it, but it is not a port that I need to use on a regular basis. Both my mid-2017 iMac and early-2015 MacBook Pro both have an SDXC slot on them, and I have used them on occasion, but the times when I do use it are few and far between.
For those who do use it regularly though, it will be much more convenient to have the SDXC card slot on the front of the Mac Studio will make it remarkably more convenient. Most particularly if you need to import or expo video files to an SD Card slot on a regular basis.
Now, let us see how much the Mac Studio costs, if you want to contemplate purchasing one.
Normally, I would look at a price comparison between the 27-inch iMac and the Mac Studio with Studio Display, but I do not think that is necessarily an appropriate comparison. The reason for this is because the Mac Studio is not only an entirely different machine, you cannot directly compare them. Sure, you could try to make an approximation, but the devices are so fundamentally different products.
The iMac is an all-in-one device meanwhile the Mac Studio is designed to be modular, where you can use any monitor with the Mac Studio, and as mentioned earlier, you can upgrade the display and computer separately as needed.
The Mac Studio starts at $1999 for the 10-core CPU and 24-Core GPU model, with 32GB of unified RAM and 512GB of storage.. In 2022, a computer that starts at $1999 should have at least 1TB of storage. To me, 512GB does not seem like enough storage space for the price. Unfortunately, this is typical of how Apple prices their devices.
If you want an M1 Ultra, you can get one, but be prepared to pay quite a bit. The Mac Studio with the M1 Ultra will get you 20-core CPU, 48-Core GPU, 64GB of unified memory, and 1TB of storage. Just as many other aspects of the M1 Ultra being double the M1 Max, the price is also double. The M1 Ultra starts at $3999.
The Mac Studio with M1 Ultra, 40CPU Cores, 64 GPU Cores, 128GB of RAM, and 8TB SSD would come to a total of $7999. You can configure just about any price between $1999 and $7999. Now, let us look at what I actually ordered.
The configuration I opted for is the 10-core CPU, 24-Core GPU model and 32GB of unified memory, which is the base configuration. I did decide to make one upgrade. I upgraded the unified storage, and I went with 2TB of storage. The 2TB of storage is less than I have in my 2017 iMac, which was a 3TB Fusion Drive. The 32GB of unified memory is more than the 24GB of total memory I have in my iMac.
I did think about going up to 4TB, but that would have added another $600 on top of the $600 for the 2TB. Instead, I decided to stick with 2TB and if I need more storage I can use an external drive, there are plenty of drives for that.
Another reason I went with 2TB is that I store most of my documents using iCloud, so if it really comes down to it, I can just remove the items from my Mac and keep them in iCloud. Should I need them again I can download them again. I can also keep things on an external drives if needed, and this is in addition to my other cloud backups as well.
The reason I went with the base processor is that it is way more than I think I will need for the next five years. 32 CPU Cores and 24 GPU Cores are way more than I have had in any Mac, let alone any computer, that I have used on a regular basis. Now, let us look at Apple Silicon as a daily machine.
Apple Silicon as a Daily Machine
Technically, the Mac Studio is not my first Apple Silicon machine. This is because I did purchase an M1 Mac mini back in November of 2020 when they were announced. I got the base model M1 Mac mini, no upgrades. I ordered this after a friend of mine tested my app, wwriteLite, on their M1 MacBook Pro and the app was crashing.
The M1 Mac mini has been a test and development machine. The M1 Mac mini came in handy for my book, “iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, tvOS 15, and watchOS 8 for Users, Administrators, and Developers“, last year. The way that the M1 Mac mini was very helpful was because there were a couple of features that were only available on Apple Silicon Macs, and it was my only M1 Mac. Along with this, my 2017 iMac and 2015 MacBook Pro did not get some of the features that were introduced with macOS Monterey, so it was handy being able to use those new features when writing my book.
Even though I have owned an M1 Mac mini, I did not use, and have not used, it on a daily basis as my primary computer. The Mac Studio is my daily machine and this is the first time I have used an Apple Silicon machine regularly. So, I thought I would share my thoughts on a few things that I have noticed while using an M1 machine every day, starting with Xcode.
My day job is to work on both web apps and develop and iPadOS app that is used at work. In order to build and iPadOS app you need to use Xcode. My 2017 iMac has been what I have primarily used to develop the app we use at work. Beyond this, my 2017 iMac has been the machine that I have done all of the work on my own app, wwriteLite, since I got the iMac in July of 2017.
I did some benchmarks for how long it took to build my app. I ran three different trials to get an average amount of time to compile. These builds were full clean builds, not incremental ones. Here are the results of those trials:
Early-2015 MacBook Pro
Late 2020 M1 Mac mini
Early 2022 Mac Studio
You can clearly see the difference between the iMac and the Mac Studio. The Mac Studio takes half as much time compile my app, and this was just for full builds. Incremental builds did not always take that long to build, but they could still take some time. While I have not done any extensive testing, I suspect that incremental builds will also be a bit faster, but I do not expect the to be twice as fast.
Xcode contains a huge number of features. One of the most power hungry, and most problematic ones, that I encountered when doing development has been SwiftUI Previews. In case you are not aware, SwiftUI is Apple’s Swift-only framework that uses a whole different approach than traditional programming. SwiftUI uses a declarative syntax. The declarative syntax can allow you to quickly iterate by allowing you to make changes and view them instantly. When doing development on my iMac whether SwiftUI Previews would work was severely hit or miss.
Having used the Mac Studio for a little bit and using Xcode I can say for certain that the Mac Studio is a much better platform for using SwiftUI Previews. The Mac Studio was not only able to render my SwiftUI Previews, but it was able to do so without making the fans spin up.
When I did an actual build of my app to run in a simulator the power usage did spike to around 50 watts, but this was brief and intermediate and when the app was actually running in the simulator the temperature of the Mac Studio was hovering around 100 degrees celsius, and the power quickly ramped back down.
As mentioned, SwiftUI Previews can be very power hungry. If I was able to use SwiftUI Previews on my iMac, the fans would almost invariably spin up to 100%. When the fans spin up, they can generate a lot of noise, and on the topic of noise, let us discuss noise with the Mac Studio.
When the Mac Studio was first in the hands of individuals there were some that indicated that they could hear the fans in the Mac Studio. The fan noise did not bother some, but the Mac Studio was loud enough that it caused some people to return their Mac Studio machines. I have not been able to hear the fans, no matter what I am doing. I have not been able to make the fans spin up in day to day usage. As I stated earlier I do have iStat Menus installed and I can manually make the fans spin up, and I did just to make sure that they were functioning. But in my day to day usage I have not been able to make them spin up. Not even when I was doing my encoding tests.
Most of the time I have not heard much noise coming out of my other Macs either. I tend to have pretty good hearing and if there is even a slight change in the fans, I typically hear it. There is a caveat to this, in order for me to hear most changes I need to not be wearing my headphones.
When I am wearing my headphones I am not prone to hear slight changes in fan noise. However, if the fans really spin up, I will absolutely hear them, even over my music, which is not that loud. When this happens, I know something has gone awry and I need to look at it. Typically the fix is to kill whatever process is causing the excessive fan noise. The major reason that the fans turn on is to remove any excess heat from the system. Let us now look at the temperature of the Mac Studio.
One of the things that might make fans spin up on any device is the internal temperature of the device. The reason for this is that devices need to stay cool so they do not overheat. Overheating in the computer world can lead to rather disastrous results. While it is not likely to happen these days, too much heat can cause components to get damaged and can cause systems to fail. macOS is designed to automatically adjust the fan speed as needed.
Even though I am not worried about it on the Mac Studio, I did install iStat Menus to see what temperature ranges would be shown during normal usage of the Mac Studio. Most of the time the Mac Studio is between 92 and 96 degrees celsius. This is about the same range as my 2017 iMac, but 15 degrees cooler than my 2015 MacBook Pro. If I manage to stress the CPU cores, or the GPU cores, the temperature might reach around 140 degrees celsius. I saw the Mac Studio reach this temperature when I was doing my encoding tests. Even when the temperature was that high, the fans never spun up beyond their standard idling speed of approximately 1325 rotations per minute.
The Mac Studio is designed to stay as cool as possible. The top half of the Mac Studio is a fan assembly that will pull air from the bottom of the Mac Studio over the components, forcing the hot air to rise and be pushed out of the back of the Mac Studio. Now that we have covered the fans, let us look at another item that might make some noise, but this one is likely to be more deliberately done. That feature is the speakers.
Almost every computing device sold these days has some way of providing feedback. On an iPhone and Apple Watch this can be through haptics, or the speaker. On the iPad it has to be through the speaker since there are no haptics. The same applies to the Mac Studio which only has speakers for feedback.
The speaker on the Mac Studio is, as you might expect, functional, but far from the highest quality, but this is expected. The Mac mini and Mac Studio are not devices that people typically buy for their speaker quality. The Mac Studio speakers are decent and do have more bass than the Mac mini, but cannot compare even to my 2017 iMac speakers. Even though they are not as good as my iMac, they are are a bit better than my early-2015 MacBook Pro speakers, in that they have more bass. This is not surprising given how much more room there is for the speakers in the Mac Studio.
The Mac Studio speakers are very functional and serviceable, particularly if you only want to listen to stuff like podcasts, but you may want something else, like a HomePod or a pair of wireless headphones, if you plan on using the Mac Studio for listening to audio. The decision to not make the Mac Studio speakers the best out there makes sense, particularly since the Mac Studio is designed to be paired with the Studio Display. If you have a Studio Display connected to the Mac Studio, those speakers are absolutely a better choice, and the way to go. On the topic of the Studio Display, let us briefly turn to using dual Studio Displays.
Dual Studio Displays
When Apple announced the Studio Display, it is a product that many were waiting to be released. I was amongst those who were waiting. Since I had been waiting, I ordered a Studio Display as soon as the event was over. When I ordered the Studio Display I anticipated using the Studio Display as a second monitor for my iMac.
Prior to receiving the Studio Display, I had been using my iMac with a 27-inch Dell monitor, so I was accustomed to having a dual-monitor setup. The 27-inch Dell is model SE2719H. This model is not a 4K monitor and it can support a maximum resolution of 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels tall. I bought this monitor in June of 2020 as a second monitor for my iMac. As mentioned in my review of the Studio Display, I completely enjoyed having a two full 5K screens on my desk.
Having two displays with the same resolution and overall features make things easier to handle and less jarring when moving between the windows and items on the two displays.
When I ordered my Mac Studio I also ordered another Studio Display. I ordered the exact same configuration for the screen, which is the Studio Display with the Tilt-Adjust stand. I will not lie, I went back and forth about whether to get the second Studio Display, because I thought it might be a bit too excessive, but I ordered it none-the-less. I also debated on ordering a Studio Display with Tilt and Height Adjustable stand, but I opted to get the same one I already ordered. Now, I will be the first to state that being able to afford two Studio Displays, along with a Mac Studio, is a privilege and this is not a normal configuration for most users.
The Mac Studio arrived before the second Studio Display, which was not expected. The delivery date range for my second Studio Display was a full week before the Mac Studio itself, but the Mac Studio arrived first. Why it arrived first, I do not know, but it surely did.
During the time without the second Studio Display I once again used the 27-inch Dell monitor as my second monitor. Having gone back to a single 5K screen with a 1080p display as the secondary screen was, suffice to say, less than ideal. Even in the brief amount of time that I had been using the Studio Display with my iMac, I had gotten used to having two 5K screens on at the same time, and having to go back to a screen with two different resolutions made me appreciate using two monitors with the same resolution.
One of the downsides with having a non-Apple supported monitor is that many of the adjustments on the monitor cannot be made through macOS. Chief amounts these is the brightness of the screen. Throughout the day I end up needing to tweak the brightness of my displays to either be brighter or dimmer depending on the amount of light. Even with True Tone and Night Shift, some adjustment is necessary.
Not being able to adjust the Dell monitor’s brightness within macOS means using the cumbersome buttons underneath the display. Another downside to using the Dell is the fact that the two displays sit at two different heights. This latter issue is a minor one, but it can be hard to find something to place under the lower monitor to bring it up to the same height as the other monitor.
Now having had two 5K Studio Displays for a little while has only positively reinforced my decision to buy the second Studio Display. It is quite nice having two screens that are the same height and have the exact same feature set. I fully intend to use the Studio Displays for many years. It is quite likely that I will end up replacing the Mac Studio before either one of the Studio Displays, but only time will tell on that.
Having two identical displays really is the way to go. Even if you do not want to spend the money on multiple Apple Studio Displays, but you want two, or more, monitors, I would recommend buying the same monitors so that everything can be the same and there is no need to adjust a lot of things just to make everything work in the expectant manner.
Next, let us move onto something else, Touch ID.
The Mac Studio has two items in the box; the Mac Studio itself and a power cord. That is it. The Mac Studio does not come with a keyboard, mouse, or any other input device, which is a departure from the 27-inch iMac and the iMac Pro, but is keeping in line with the Mac mini. You may recall that I wrote a review of the Magic Keyboard Touch ID. I did that review with my base model M1 Mac mini, mostly because it was the only computer I could use the Touch ID keyboard on. When it was connected to the M1 Mac mini, the only time I used the Touch ID sensors to sign into the Mac mini, when I did need to connect to it and not through Screen Sharing.
Instead of buying a new Touch ID keyboard and mouse, which I may do at some point in the future because who does not like matching colors, I decided to use my existing Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and another Magic Mouse that I already had. Since the Touch ID sensor would not work with my 2017 iMac, nor on my early-2015 MacBook Pro, this is my first experience with using Touch ID regularly on macOS.
When I started using Touch ID on my Mac Studio I did not realize just how often I would need to fill in passwords. The iMac never prompted me for passwords, they were just automatically be filled in. Obviously having passwords automatically fill in without any biometrics is significantly less secure, but it is significantly more convenient. As is the case with all things in modern technology, there is a trade off between convenience and security. The more convenient you typically end up making something less secure.
It has taken me a bit of time to get used to the fact that I can log into my Mac Studio with Touch ID. I have been using may Apple Watch to unlock my Macs since I could enable the feature. However, a Mac will not unlock if the Apple Watch is locked. I am sure using Touch ID to unlock my computer will just take a bit of time to get used to and eventually it will become second nature.
Even though it is a bit more of an inconvenience to use Touch ID, it is definitely more secure. One area where Touch ID came in the handiest is when it came to logging into the Apple website. You can use your local account’s password to authenticate with your Apple ID account. Now, with a Touch ID keyboard, I no longer have to enter in my password and I can just use the Touch ID sensor to authenticate. This interaction is so much quicker and a very welcome change.
Next, let us try and look at some of the speed of the Mac Studio, through encoding media.
One of the features of the M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra, are that they are designed with video encoding and decoding in mind. The unified memory system on its own would help improve encoding speeds. The real speed improvement comes with the fact that there are dedicated video engines in these processors. Specifically, there are video encode engines and two ProRes encode and decode engines built directly into the processors. For the M1 Pro there is a single dedicated ProRes encode and decode engine. While on the M1 Max there are two, and there are four on the M1 Ultra.
I do not use ProRes in anyway, so I am not sure if they will ultimately go unused, I suspect they might. However, what will not go unused is the encoding engine. This is because I do like to convert my physical media into digital format so I can watch it on one of my Apple TVs.
Ripping a DVD
There are a number of ways of doing this. You can use something like Handbrake or FFmpeg. I prefer Handbrake myself. When I set up a new machine, I end up downloading new copies of apps, and this was definitely the case with the Mac Studio. If you use Handbrake on an Apple Silicon machine, be sure to update to the latest version, 1.5.1.
I ended up ripping one of the DVDs that I have. It was a standard 480p DVD. For the test I used HandBrake with an external USB DVD burner that I own. The DVD burner is USB-A and I connected it directly to my Mac Studio. As a side note, hardware makers, an 8-inch cable is not long enough, not by a long stretch. You really need to include more cable length on these devices, or make it detachable and replaceable.
The encoding maxed out at 155.18 frames per second, with an average of 119.19 frames per second. The entire encode only took 12 minutes and 13 seconds. While the DVD was encoding the temperature, as reported by iStat Menus, got up to 120 degrees and you know what, the fans did not even spin any faster. They were at around 1336 revolutions per minute, which is where they idle at.
Compare this to the 2017 iMac, which topped out at around 150.07 frames per second and averaged 118.19 frames per second. The total time took about 12 minutes and 16 seconds. This was the same USB DVD drive, with the same piece of media, using the same version of Handbrake with the same settings. These are comparable, which seems about right because the USB DVD drive was likely the limiting factor
The iMac did get warmer, at about 134 degrees celsius and that was with the fans on 100% at 2705 revolutions per minute. Obviously, I could hear the fans going on the iMac. Ripping from a DVD is only one option, the is another option, ripping from an image of the DVD.
Ripping from Image
I did another test, ripping from an image. I did two different tests, the first was ripping from the image on the internal drive to an external drive and the second was ripping from the image on the internal drive to the internal drive.
When ripping from the DVD to an external drive, on the iMac the maximum speed was 179.81 frames per second with an average was 151.40 frames per second. Again, the iMac fan went to 100% at 2705 revolutions per minute. The ripping was done from the internal drive to an external, just as it was when ripping to DVD, as to minimize variability and this time it took 9 minutes and 32 seconds. So, this is about 3 minutes, or 25% faster.
Just to provide one last test, I ripped from the internal drive to another file on the same drive. The statistics for that were a maximum of 200.06 frames per second with an average of 149.24 frames per second and that encoding took 9 minutes and 40 seconds.
Now, compared to iMac,, ripping the image to an external drive on the Mac Studio had a maximum of 402.27 frames per second with an average of 330.69 frames per second and it took 4 minutes and 22 seconds to rip. The temperature did rise to 146 degrees celsius but the fans never spun up beyond their idle speeds.
Ripping the image to local drive, from the local drive, showed a maximum of 401.33 frames per second and an average of 329.66 frames per second, all in 4 minutes and 23 seconds. The temperature was 147 degrees celsius and as expected, the fans never spun up beyond their idling speed of 1300 revolutions per minute.
As you can see, ripping a DVD image on the Mac Studio, whether to the internal drive or an external drive was 50% faster. I do not know if it makes sense to rip a DVD to an image and then rip it, because it would take a while to rip from the DVD drive to the image, much longer than just ripping from the DVD drive directly. Overall, I think I will use the Mac Studio for ripping DVDs to my library.
Next, let us look at some other measurements of how fast the Mac Studio is. That is through benchmarks.
All of my reviews include the obligatory benchmarks. These benchmarks all used GeekBench 5. The devices include other M1 devices, Intel Machines, and even some devices that have A-series chips. The “ML” category is for iOS and iPadOS devices only, as GeekBench has yet to release a Machine Learning app for macOS, I wish they would though. So, onto the actual benchmarks.
Early 2022 Mac Studio (Max)
Mid-2017 27-inch iMac
iPhone 13 Pro Max
5th Gen iPad Pro
6th Gen iPad mini
Mid-2017 27-inch iMac
Late 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro
Late 2018 Mac mini
Early-2015 MacBook Pro
iPod Touch 7th Gen
iPhone 6s Plus
The results are what one might expect. The M1 family of chips is based on the A14, so all of those devices have roughly similar results. The one outlier is the 6th Generation iPad mini, which has an A15 in it. The M1 line of chips are based on the A14, and the A15 should have slightly better performance, look at the iPhone 13 Pro Max which also has an A15.
I am not sure why there is such a discrepancy, but when looking at the other Geekbench submissions, these results are inline with other 6th generation iPad mini devices.
The Mac Studio is not an inexpensive machine by any stretch of ones imagination. It starts at $1999 for the M1 Max version, but can range to $7999 for the M1 Ultra with 8TB of Storage and 128GB of unified memory, and almost any price in between. Even though The Mac Studio is designed to replace both the 27-inch iMac and the 27-inch iMac Pro, the Mac Studio is not an all-in-one machine. Instead, it is modular.
The Mac Studio is a desktop computer that was introduced with an accompanying Studio Display. Taken together these pieces can be upgraded and replaced as needed. Modularity of the Mac Studio does not stop at just the device itself. The Mac Studio is also modular in terms of storage. It is not soldered on and allows Apple to easily replace or customize the storage in the Mac Studio without needing to create different logic boards with a variety of storage options.
The Mac Studio is a significantly faster machine than other M1 Macs available and if you are going to purchase one, you should be quite delighted by the speed. Along with the speed, the Mac Studio is replete with external ports, including four Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB-A, one HDMI, and one headphone jack. One thing that differentiates the Mac Studio from other Macs is that there are also ports on the front of the Mac Studio. On the front there are two USB-C ports that support USB 4 and an SDXC slot.
If you are a developer and using an Intel-based machine, you should really look at getting a Mac running Apple Silicon. It will definitely be a game changer for development. If you prefer laptop, the 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro is a good choice, but if you want a desktop you cannot go wrong with the Mac Studio as your machine.
If you are looking to order a Mac Studio, you might want to place your order now, many configurations have a delivery range of 10 to 12 weeks, meaning as of this writing you are looking at August for a delivery date.
Today, Apple has quietly discontinued macOS Server. I cannot say that I am surprised by this. macOS Server has long been in maintenance mode where it only gets the bare minimum of updates. Furthermore, I think the final death knell for macOS Server is the fact that Apple recently introduced Apple Business Essentials, which effectively replacing the last remaining service in macOS Server, Profile Manager. Apple Business Essentials further aides Apple in its push to be more services oriented than a product-only company.
Ever since Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah was introduced in 2001 there has been some sort of server component. This initially started as a dedicated version of OS X Server, which was the base macOS with the additional server options. macOS Server was aimed at small and medium businesses as a way of being able to host their own website, calendar, mail, DNS, VPN, and FTP servers; among other services as well.
Pricing for macOS has changed over the years as well. Initially, it was $500 for a 5 simultaneous users or $999 or unlimited simultaneous users. The user limitation was only for file server, all other services were unlimited. With the release of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server pricing changed to be $499 for unlimited users. This was not the final shift.
In 2011, with the release of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion the entire server model changed. Instead of being a separate version, it now became an app that anybody could install from the Mac App Store. Along with being a change to be an app, the pricing changed. The price dropped by 90% to be $49.99. This put it squarely in the realm of power user affordability. The price again dropped the next year, to just $19.99, with the introduction of Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. This absolutely put it into even home user pricing. And with the App Store update mechanism, it was easy to keep up to date.
Over time though, Apple started removing services, in particular version 5.7.1 of macOS Server, which corresponded with macOS Mojave (10.14), was the one that cut the services down to just two, Xsan and Profile Manager. I suspect that when the decision to cut macOS Server down to just Profile Manager and Xsan, that the determination was made to create Apple Business Essentials and once it was introduced that macOS Server would be discontinued.
I cannot argue with the fact that macOS Server’s overall utility has been slowly diminishing. Some of macOS server’s features have been rolled directly into macOS itself. These include File Server, Caching Server, and Time Machine Server. Relegating macOS Server to strictly be Profile Manager has effectively made the app a single-purpose app. I cannot fault Apple for discontinuing macOS Server, the scant resources being used to maintain the server app can now be used to continue improving Apple Business Essentials.
Having always been a power user I will remember the early days of macOS Server fondly, but it no longer makes sense to include that into macOS, and instead allow third-parties, including Apple’s own Business Essentials service, to manage all of ones devices for them. There are many companies who sole focus is Mobile Device Management, and they are better suited for it.
Today Apple has announced that they will be holding their annual World Wide Developer Conference, or WWDC.. The theme for this year is “Call to code“. WWDC will again be held in an all-online format starting June 6th and going through June 10th. This will be the third year for this all-online format. Even though this year’s WWDC is all-online, Apple is branching out to bring some in-person aspects to the conference.
“In addition to the online conference, Apple will host a special day for developers and students at Apple Park on June 6 to watch the keynote and State of the Union videos together, along with the online community. Space is limited and details on how to apply to attend will be provided soon.”
WWDC 2022 will be free for anyone to watch during and after the conference. There is one aspect to WWDC that has become a tradition, the Swift Student Challenge.
Swift Student Challenge
For the third year in a row Apple is holding the “Swift Student Challenge”. The Swift Student Challenge is designed to provide students an opportunity to create a Swift Playground and show it off. The requirements are the same as last year, which were:
Build your Swift Playgrounds app project, answer a few written prompts, provide documentation, and submit. To be eligible for the Challenge, you must:
Be 13 years of age or older in the United States, or the equivalent minimum age in the relevant jurisdiction (for example, 16 years of age in the European Union);
Be registered for free with Apple as an Apple developer or be a member of the Apple Developer Program; and
Fulfill one of the following requirements:
Be enrolled in an accredited academic institution or official homeschool equivalent;
Be enrolled in a STEM organization’s educational curriculum;
Be enrolled in an Apple Developer Academy; or
Have graduated from high school or equivalent within the past 6 months and be awaiting acceptance or have received acceptance to an accredited academic institution.
There is additional information about requirements on the WWDC 2022 Student Challenge page. This can be found on the Apple developer site.
It will be interesting to see what Apple unveils at WWDC, which is just about two months away. Per my usual, I will have some predictions about what Apple will unveil as it gets closer to the WWDC 2022 keynote.
Yesterday Apple announced that their Business Essentials product, which was announced in November of 2021, is now available for all small businesses in the United States.
To recap, the Business Essentials service allows companies to have a one-stop place to manage not only user accounts and devices, but also with the possibility of getting AppleCare+ support on devices. This includes 24/7 technical support that your employees or IT staff can use to get support from Apple for both devices and software.
Beyond this, Apple Small Business Essentials comes with dedicated iCloud storage for documents, collaboration, and general storage. Along with this, any business data is automatically backed up to iCloud so upgrading devices, or changing to a new device, simple and easy. This is made possible through the use of a managed Apple ID, which allows for the separation of work and personal data.
Prices for Business Essentials range from $2.99 per user per month to $24.99 per user per month, depending on devices, storage, and AppleCare. Here are the features that you can get, and at which price point.
Cost per month
For those plans that include repair credits, that can be on-site repair, in some markets. This means that the device can be able to be repaired quickly and the employee can get back to doing their work as soon as possible.
If you are interested, you can learn more about Apple’s Business Essentials at the service’s dedicated website.