The Mac studio is the most powerful and capable computer Apple has ever built. At times, using it feels literally astonishing, when you realise that such great power is coming out of such an unprepossessing box.
It is also a whole new kind of computer for the company. Until now, its desktop line-up has offered thin, sleek iMacs and Mac minis (£622.97, Amazon.co.uk) for consumers alongside the big Mac pro (£5,499, Apple.com) for professionals – but in some ways the Mac studio is the very best of the two, being both powerful and small.
It has been able to make a computer like that because it has created a whole new way of building its computers, too, by putting its own chips inside. That means they can be smaller and faster than ever, and that Apple can design them from the very smallest transistor to the Mac studio’s imposing aluminium shell.
It all comes together to make a computer that answers almost every demand of Apple’s high-end users, and could launch whole new ways of using the Mac. It is the computer that professionals have been dreaming of for years: the Mac studio lives up to those fantasies.
At the same time, however, the studio is a highly specialised piece of kit – one that’s likely to be too powerful (and too expensive) for most people who just need something for email, browsing and word processing.
It might just be the best computer Apple has ever made. And most people probably shouldn’t get it.
How we tested
We’ve been using the new Mac studio for a week, for both normal daily tasks and a variety of tests intended to push it to the limits of its performance. Throughout, we took note of how quickly and reliably it performed, as well as how it was to use as a daily computer. It was plugged into Apple’s studio display (£1,499, Apple.com), which was announced at the same time and is reviewed here.
You can pre-order the Apple Mac studio (£1,999, Apple.com) until Friday 18 March.
Apple Mac studio: £1,999, Apple.com – preorder now
Rating: 10/10 (for the right person)
Chip: M1 Max or M1 Ultra, with a 10- or 20-core CPU and 24- or…