Apple executives say creating Mac Studio was 'overwhelming'

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware
Apple's Mac Studio and Studio Display executives say the new devices are borne from lessons learned in more than 20 years of previous Mac design engineering.




Apple only rarely introduces an entirely new Mac, but two executives working on the Mac Studio say that its design has its roots in Apple's work over decades. In a new interview with GQ magazine, vice president of hardware engineering Kate Bergeron traces it back to the first Mac she worked on, the 17-inch PowerBook G4.

"Way back in 2003 almost every single thing that we put in [that] was a new invention at the time," Bergeron told the publication. "Nobody made a laptop that big that you could carry at that point. They were sort of these horrible-looking seven and a half pound briefcases."

"Because of the Mac's product history," she continued, "we've been able to take those products from 20 years ago that might look pretty pedestrian to us today but were groundbreaking at the time, and then learn every single little thing that we can from them."

This applied equally to the new Studio Display, which Apple wanted to feature first-class speakers.

"You could say, 'Let's just go crank those speakers up and make them loud with lots of rich, full bass,'" said Bergeron. "If you do that in a really rigid mount, you would create a display that actually shook itself on the table."

"So our specialists on the audio team use a technology called force cancelling reverse where we actually offset the speakers," she said, "so that when they vibrate the system is amazingly stable and totally quiet."

Both Bergeron and Colleen Novielli, senior product marketing manager at Apple, told GQ that the resulting Mac Studio and Studio Display have met the company's goals. But also, they added that Apple doesn't know what users are going to make with them.

"We're able to offer this performance to our users in a way that we haven't before and really nobody has," said Novielli "Now we're just so excited to see what people are going to be able to do creatively."

Bergeron adds that she thinks the worth of the Mac Studio will become more apparent after it's been used for a time.

"I think it'll take a little bit longer for us to fully appreciate it," she said. "But when we're pulling the material together for the keynotes, and we're reflecting on the performance of the products that actually achieve what we set out for them to do, it can be quite overwhelming."

The Mac Studio has been getting strongly favorable reviews, and demand from buyers almost immediately saw shipping slip back from March to May.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 885member
    These self-congratulatory things Apple does occasionally should be a bit embarrassing.  The Mac Studio looks like a big Mac Mini and it’s the very computer people have requested for years. Apple folks were not psychic when they determined the need and didn’t come up with a revolutionary new design. Good on you for making the Studio Display speakers good. Why is the camera garbage?

    I seem to recall Ive or somebody gushing over the shape of the Apple Pencil or something like that. It’s some kind of joke. 
    darkvaderITGUYINSDwilliamlondondesignrcrowley
  • Reply 2 of 38
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 960member
    "We made the crappiest possible version of what people have been talking about since the Cube was discontinued, and it absolutely overwhelmed us.  Don't expect anything good."
    williamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 38
    ITGUYINSDITGUYINSD Posts: 448member
    williamh said:
    These self-congratulatory things Apple does occasionally should be a bit embarrassing.  The Mac Studio looks like a big Mac Mini and it’s the very computer people have requested for years. Apple folks were not psychic when they determined the need and didn’t come up with a revolutionary new design. Good on you for making the Studio Display speakers good. Why is the camera garbage?

    I seem to recall Ive or somebody gushing over the shape of the Apple Pencil or something like that. It’s some kind of joke. 
    And when they did create a revolutionary new design, it was labeled a "trash can".  Well done. /s
    freeassociate2jony0StrangeDayspumpkin_king
  • Reply 4 of 38
    XedXed Posts: 1,595member
    williamh said:
    These self-congratulatory things Apple does occasionally should be a bit embarrassing.  The Mac Studio looks like a big Mac Mini and it’s the very computer people have requested for years. Apple folks were not psychic when they determined the need and didn’t come up with a revolutionary new design. Good on you for making the Studio Display speakers good. Why is the camera garbage?

    I seem to recall Ive or somebody gushing over the shape of the Apple Pencil or something like that. It’s some kind of joke. 
    Your synopsis of the article isn't congruent to what is written and your statement that the Mac Studio is just a "big Mac Mini[sic]" is a ridiculous statement that doesn't take into consideration any of the engineering that goes into designing the machine.

    Do you honestly believe "it’s the very computer people have requested for years"? because I haven't once seen anyone make mention of an xMac that uses Apple designed ARM-chip that fuses two M1 Max's with a high-speed interconnect to work as one chip, unified RAM for the CPU and GPU, or any of the other very difficult and complex features of the Mac Studio.

    How about the Mac Studio Display? Where have you mentioned how easy it would be to design a 5K display for $1600 that uses an A13 SoC? It seems like the start and stop of your genius is simply to say, "make it bigger and give me more for less" as if that's how products are made. As for you pooh-poohing their work to balance good sound without vibrations, well that's what engineering is and it can be a lengthy, expensive process to get things right. As I've already mentioned, just wishing It to happen doesn't work. As for the camera, it's a known bug but since it's the same HW as other devices it should be resolved soon enough with an update.
    welshdogmagman1979foregoneconclusionwilliamlondonAppleZulufreeassociate2baconstangdewmerezwitsviclauyyc
  • Reply 5 of 38
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 1,022member
    williamh said:
    These self-congratulatory things Apple does occasionally should be a bit embarrassing.  The Mac Studio looks like a big Mac Mini and it’s the very computer people have requested for years. Apple folks were not psychic when they determined the need and didn’t come up with a revolutionary new design. Good on you for making the Studio Display speakers good. Why is the camera garbage?

    I seem to recall Ive or somebody gushing over the shape of the Apple Pencil or something like that. It’s some kind of joke. 
    Boo-hoo. Now go troll another apple site. 
    magman1979williamlondonrezwitsJWSCjony0StrangeDaysbshankwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 38
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 1,022member
    darkvader said:
    "We made the crappiest possible version of what people have been talking about since the Cube was discontinued, and it absolutely overwhelmed us.  Don't expect anything good."
    Again, boo-hoo. Go join your pal and troll another site. 
    edited March 2022 magman1979williamlondonrezwitsJWSCjony0StrangeDaysbshankwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 38
    JackyChanJackyChan Posts: 12unconfirmed, member
    Please don’t make false attributions. Bergeron is (apparently) saying that reflecting *back* upon what they have already done is emotionally overwhelming (presumably because they are so proud), NOT overwhelming to make the product in the first place. There is no mention of whether that is true. 
    welshdogAppleZulujony0bkkcanuckwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 38
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,716member
    williamh said:
    ... The Mac Studio looks like a big Mac Mini ...

    It may "look" like a Big Mac Mini, but it's entirely different from a Mac Mini, both in the case design and inside.

    williamh said:
    Why is the camera garbage?

    Anyone who has been paying attention knows that there's an issue with the software that shipped on the Studio Display that affects the camera.

    williamlondonbaconstangjony0pscooter63StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 38
    AppleishAppleish Posts: 518member
    The team that made the Mac Pro killing CPU onboard performed the heavy lift. 
    steve_jobsAppleSince1976watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 38
    Why so much ML cores? What will use so many ML cores?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 38
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,020member
    darkvader said:
    "We made the crappiest possible version of what people have been talking about since the Cube was discontinued, and it absolutely overwhelmed us.  Don't expect anything good."
    You again.  Continuing to pass your opinions as fact?  Take a hike.
    williamlondondewmeJWSCjony0StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 38
    thttht Posts: 4,722member
    Why so much ML cores? What will use so many ML cores?
    Video and image processing. It's basically Apple's Mac content creation wheelhouse. Just another additional tool in the chest for them.

    It might make some inroads with data metrics/science fields if they can get software optimized for it. They are starting from way way behind CUDA on this.
    edited March 2022
  • Reply 13 of 38
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,855member
    tht said:
    Why so much ML cores? What will use so many ML cores?
    Video and image processing. It's basically Apple's Mac content creation wheelhouse. Must another additional tool in the chest for them.

    It might make some inroads with data metrics/science fields if they can get software optimized for it. They are starting from way way behind CUDA on this.

    Seems like Apple should just select a group of scientific software companies and partner with them (pay them) to develop and optimize their wares for Apple hardware. Wouldn't cost much and might sell some hardware, plus build the brand and encourage others to develop for Apple hardware.
    baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 38
    neilmneilm Posts: 964member
    Any who isn't impressed by the Studio's engineering should have a look at how it's made. See this teardown:

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 38
    XedXed Posts: 1,595member
    neilm said:
    Any who isn't impressed by the Studio's engineering should have a look at how it's made. See this teardown:
    [video]
    I think it was William Gallagher of AI that noted that the reports of the Mac Studio being upgradable aren't accurate.

    But in terms of engineering and construction it doesn't look like Apple skimped anywhere.
    edited March 2022 dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 38
    Xed said:
    williamh said:
    These self-congratulatory things Apple does occasionally should be a bit embarrassing.  The Mac Studio looks like a big Mac Mini and it’s the very computer people have requested for years. Apple folks were not psychic when they determined the need and didn’t come up with a revolutionary new design. Good on you for making the Studio Display speakers good. Why is the camera garbage?

    I seem to recall Ive or somebody gushing over the shape of the Apple Pencil or something like that. It’s some kind of joke. 
    Your synopsis of the article isn't congruent to what is written and your statement that the Mac Studio is just a "big Mac Mini[sic]" is a ridiculous statement that doesn't take into consideration any of the engineering that goes into designing the machine.

    Do you honestly believe "it’s the very computer people have requested for years"? because I haven't once seen anyone make mention of an xMac that uses Apple designed ARM-chip that fuses two M1 Max's with a high-speed interconnect to work as one chip, unified RAM for the CPU and GPU, or any of the other very difficult and complex features of the Mac Studio.

    How about the Mac Studio Display? Where have you mentioned how easy it would be to design a 5K display for $1600 that uses an A13 SoC? It seems like the start and stop of your genius is simply to say, "make it bigger and give me more for less" as if that's how products are made. As for you pooh-poohing their work to balance good sound without vibrations, well that's what engineering is and it can be a lengthy, expensive process to get things right. As I've already mentioned, just wishing It to happen doesn't work. As for the camera, it's a known bug but since it's the same HW as other devices it should be resolved soon enough with an update.
    Don’t worry Xed, the poster is “just a big mammal” and nothing revolutionary. Only the same mammal that’s been requested for years, riddled with logical fallacies and isn’t psychic. A cheaper mammal performs just as well — don’t know why they keep making these expensive mammals. Must be brainwashed or something. For sure the sensory input on these mammals is garbage.  :)
    edited March 2022 williamlondondewmenormmStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 38
    This computer would never have made it to daylight if Jony Ive was still at Apple.
    Ports- plenty of them- even in the front? Unbelievable.
    Looks like it can cool itself- and isn't a funky shape that no one knows what to do with- ie Cube or Trash Can Mac Pro.
    Still not upgradeable- no slots- while every PC in this price range can and does do both.
    I'm waiting on one. We'll see what it runs like when it shows up.
    williamlondonwilliamh
  • Reply 18 of 38
    DoctorQDoctorQ Posts: 43member
    Still not upgradeable- no slots- while every PC in this price range can and does do both.
    I'm waiting on one. We'll see what it runs like when it shows up.
    I have a feeling slots are superfluous at this point, since it’s pertinent only to Intel. A PCI bus, in this scenario, is likely a bottleneck. Apple’s architecture calls for keeping the internal busses short as possible, such as with the system RAM. Will M series based Macs eventually have PCI slots? Beats me, but if there’s no hardware to fill the slots, what difference does it make?
    pscooter63StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 38
    viclauyycviclauyyc Posts: 839member
    williamh said:
    These self-congratulatory things Apple does occasionally should be a bit embarrassing.  The Mac Studio looks like a big Mac Mini and it’s the very computer people have requested for years. Apple folks were not psychic when they determined the need and didn’t come up with a revolutionary new design. Good on you for making the Studio Display speakers good. Why is the camera garbage?

    I seem to recall Ive or somebody gushing over the shape of the Apple Pencil or something like that. It’s some kind of joke. 
    A Ferrari and a Lada Is basically the same kind of thing too. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 38
    This computer would never have made it to daylight if Jony Ive was still at Apple.
    Ports- plenty of them- even in the front? Unbelievable.
    Looks like it can cool itself- and isn't a funky shape that no one knows what to do with- ie Cube or Trash Can Mac Pro.
    Still not upgradeable- no slots- while every PC in this price range can and does do both.
    I'm waiting on one. We'll see what it runs like when it shows up.
    You talked to Jony and got his hot take? Cool, give him my regards. Or are you one of those psychic mammals?

    hmmm slots. I couldn’t find any NUC style board with slots like that. So I looked at the Asus ProArt z690-Creator “the best workstation in the world” and that has … three slots. One that’s PCIe 4 x8/x16 and one that’s x8, and the third is PCIe x4. It’s PCIe 5.0 “Ready” but I’ve bought expensive “Ready” products before and been very disappointed by their genuine performance. So the upgradability really amounts to “I can plug shit into it.” Ports do that too. And without turning my desktop into a 300 lb doorstop. And I can just plug them into another computer/tablet/robot-overlord super easy.

    Also none of these are actual SoCs either, so don’t benefit from that kind of architecture, relying more on the tried-and-true Wintel method of brute-force over finesse. At least it will double as a foot-warmer in the winter. Although not so great come summer. And oh that fan noise! How I miss it’s not so gentle roar lulling me to sleep. (Seriously, I have power tools that are measurably quieter.) Bet those creatives will miss all that free white noise and free space heating! suckers!

    I checked resale values on old boards/super desktops that are super upgradable with old parts. Glad the market for all that ewaste is dirt cheap because of corporate churn. I could get a million dell servers for the cost of the Studio and I could hack it all together to be just as fast with so many slots! All in a giant second hand rack! Just have to tell my wife I can’t store her anymore. She takes up too much valuable compute space.

    Anyway, gotta run and get my not-upgradable car serviced, and let in the plumber so he can work on my not easily upgradable house. iFixit gave it a 2, because while it uses highly inflated commodity parts, everything is more or less built bespoke on site by overpaid specialists (man that markup is way more than 30%!). Plus the state robs me with its permit monopoly all in the name of Safety! The fear-mongering! A man just can’t get a break these days. 

    but I digress… 
    jony0StrangeDayswilliamlondonwatto_cobra
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