Studio Display 15.5 update with webcam fix now available for beta testers

The monitor promises to deliver a full iMac-like experience and within that promise, an important factor for me is the webcam.
Based on the article shared regarding the wide-angle camera, product prices and reports so far, I will be expecting a second generation.

On one level, having the built-in camera IS very much compatible with an iMac-like experience. Having built-in features carries a risk that the product as a whole could be seriously compromised because one of the bundled features, especially one that is a separate product like a webcam in a traditional modular computer, is not up to snuff. With iMacs, it’s usually the obsolescence of on-board computer components that renders a beautifully crafted display that could be reused in a modular design utterly useless.

Considering you can get a really nice 4K webcam like the Logitech Brio for around $150, does it make sense to fit a webcam into a $1600 display if it potentially makes the display less appealing to some buyers? I guess if it works perfectly nobody will complain about it, but the lack of “separation of concerns” involves a certain level of risk for the seller of the product and for some buyers. I also wonder how people who use multiple monitors would use the redundant cameras and speakers provided by the Studio Display.

Personally, I wouldn’t have a problem with the Studio Display’s webcam because it’s “good enough” for what I’m going to use it for. I suspect anyone doing serious video presentation work on a computer will use a dedicated setup with controlled lighting and high quality microphones. At least with the Studio Display, I could blame the “you look like shit” factor on the Studio Display. Keep a link to this article just in case you have to substantiate your claim of looking suboptimal on your screen’s camera. Yes, it’s the Studio Display’s fault.

Before you get a 4K external camera, get a ring light. Do the things that make the video better. Camera specs are just one, and it’s not that important in most video conferencing scenarios, but lighting is extremely important in all camera-related scenarios.

Then people already know whether they need good conference video or meeting camera video. Apple’s Media Types: Podcasters, Twitterers, Newscasters, Youtubers know if they need to look good or want to look good. If it’s basically a requirement for a job, they’ll have a studio with properly set up lighting, sound, and backgrounds. If they rely on a built-in webcam, they either do it wrong or don’t care.

The ASD is right in my wheelhouse, including the video camera. I have a good experience with my LG UF27 (even with the monitor struggling to be “level”) so not really need to get it, but it does the same function in a better package. It is a 220 ppi monitor and a TB3 docking station with USB-PD. It’s a cable connection to my MBP15 220 ppi. It minimizes wiring as there are no speaker cables, webcam cables, etc. Unplug and go, plug and work, well, after entering security credentials a million times. I’m watching the laptop screen and the external monitor at the same time, and it’s important to have the same ppi. I have a 27″ Dell 4K, and I can tell that 163 ppi just isn’t enough density to make the scaling invisible and eliminate blurring.

The webcam is also nice to have in the UF27, but its quality is basically irrelevant to me. 99% of the time I watch a briefing. When the video is shared, most of the time, whoever shares their video, MS Teams will crop it, resize it to fit other people’s video, and some will have fake background on the their. 4K video makes no sense in these scenarios. This is 99.9% of my webcam experience. I bet that’s also the experience of most people who use ASD, and it’s the experience of 99% of webcam users, regardless of hardware.

Apparently Apple has decided that Center Stage is better than having a normally wide-angle 4K camera. Some will say that this is not the right compromise. Wait and see on that. I don’t think it’s a big win anyway.

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