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Why yes, that is an Apple Studio Display on my desk

Christopher Phin | Dec. 17, 2014
Today, of course, we're used to screens being completely flat, almost paper-thin, with perfectly square edges, and consistent, reliable colors from the second you switch them on. It wasn't always so.

"Flat"-panel might be stretching things a bit. Sure, the actual panel itself is flat, but turn this thing side-on, and the whole thing is anything but!

That's an 11-inch MacBook Air beside it. For comparison, the Apple Studio Display is nearly fourteen and a half times thicker than that entire computer — keyboard, trackpad, internals and display.

I don't really care, though; it's a beautiful thing, and I still use it. I've long been a staunch advocate of using two monitors with your Mac — one big, main display such as my old Samsung here, and a smaller, secondary monitor such as this 15-inch Apple Studio Display. I'd rather have two moderately-sized monitors than one huge one (especially since, without a utility such as Moom, the Mac's window management is so primitive) as it suits the way lots of us work: main focus on the primary display, research, Twitter, iTunes, email or whatever you like on the secondary. And actually, a little display works conceptually really well for this. Plug them in, arrange them in the Displays pane of System Preferences, and start shunting stuff you want to keep an eye on but don't want to focus on off to one side.

It's easy to use this old monitor with even the most up-to-date Mac Apple makes; all you need to do is to convert the old connection. Mine is one of the very original 'Rev. A' models, so I have to convert the old-style DB — 15 connection (though its presence here means I can still use this with old Macs such as my LCs!) to VGA with an adapter off eBay — Rev. Bs were VGA out of the box — then convert that to Mini DisplayPort with a standard Apple adapter.

It looks a bit of a kludge, I know, but I actually really love that — that despite everything which has changed in the 16 years since this monitor was introduced, I can still easily Frankenstein together a solution to use it. Indeed, I've had it connected up to an iPad too — perfect since its screen exactly matches the pixel dimensions of the non-Retina iPads — and I love how my head spins thinking how, if I thought the Apple Studio Display was a pretty futuristic and exciting piece of hardware in 1998, quite how my mind would have been blown with the iPad!

If you'd like to pick up one of these old displays, get on eBay and pick one up along with the adapters you need. The white-and-clear Apple Studio Display LCD models are much more common, and so can be had for just a few bucks, but be careful — if you get a monitor such as these which use Apple's ADC standard (a precursor, in some ways, to Thunderbolt, which carried analog and digital video, USB and power along a single cable) then you have to factor in quite an expensive ADC to DVI adapter.

What was your favorite Apple display?


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