The Studio Display Vesa Mount Is a Very Un-Apple Design

Don’t look round the back; it would make Jony Ive cry

  • The Studio Display embodies Apple’s attention to detail—almost.
  • The VESA mount option partially hides the Apple logo on the back, and it looks terrible.
  • The Studio Display requires a $400 stand just to adjust its height.
Apple Studio Display with Vesa mounting bracket on back

Apple

Apple's Studio Display comes with three options for how you stand the thing up. Two of those embody Apple's typically beautiful design and attention to detail. The third is so absurdly ugly that it must make former Apple head designer Joni Ive cry just to see it. 

The Studio Display has two options for its screen—regular and low-reflectivity nano-texture glass. You can also choose a stand. The standard stand offers tilt adjustment and nothing else. The height adjustable stand adds a few pounds to the weight and a few optional inches to the height. And then there's the VESA mount, which lets you mount the display onto any third-party stand. The problem? It covers up the Apple logo, and not even all of it. Take a look at the pictures here, and you'll see that it lets the top of it peek out. 

"There's no way Steve Jobs would have signed off on this," graphic designer and Apple user Graham Bower told Lifewire in an interview. "This design implies that there need to be two versions, with the logo in a different position on the VESA version. Jobs would probably have made two versions."

Attention to Detail

Apple's attention to detail is legendary. Open any iPad, Mac, iPhone, or other device made in the past couple of decades, and you'll see that the inside is as beautiful as the outside. Even Apple's M1 series of chips looks good. So good that Apple seems eager to show photos of them at every product-launch keynote. Here's a quote from Steve Jobs, talking about this aspect of Apple's design in his biography by Walter Isaacson.

"When you're a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you're not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You'll know it's there, so you're going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through."

So what on Earth is going on with that logo?

"This design implies that there need to be two versions, with the logo in a different position on the VESA version."

Least-Worst Option

VESA is a standard mounting option used for monitors and other equipment. It’s a spec that lets you put your monitor onto any stand, movable arm, or wall mount quickly and easily.

For those that want or need it, the VESA mount is the only option they will consider. But we might assume that it’s also an uncommon option, as most people may opt for the standard stand. Now, bearing that in mind, take a look at the mounted VESA-compatible Studio Display (you have to choose your stand option when you order, although it can be changed later at an Apple repair shop for a fee):

Studio Display with Vesa mount covering the apple logo

Apple

If Apple had moved the logo up to make it visible when the VESA mount was screwed into place, then it would look terrible the rest of the time. It would be far too close to the top edge. Removing the logo is clearly not an option, and moving it off to one side is equally unlikely. So VESA users are stuck with a half-hidden logo. Not ideal, but given that those users chose VESA for functionality overlooks and that the logo is at the back, it’s not really a big deal. 

More of a concern is that we need the VESA mount at all.

Accessibility Fail

Apple is also known for its excellent accessibility options. Its software and hardware are packed with features that make it easy to use for people with visual or hearing impairments, folks who don’t have fine motor control, and anyone else. 

Its displays and desktop computers are another story. The iMac has no height adjustment, and to get such a simple ergonomically-essential option on its monitors, you have to buy a $400 or $1,000 upgrade. 

Close up of Apple Studio Display with Vesa mount covering logo

Apple

"Adjustable monitors are not exactly an intensive accessibility feature. They're something that just about anybody might want to use unless they happen to be of perfectly average height," Kyle MacDonald, director of operations at technology company Force by Mojio, told Lifewire via email. 

A correctly-positioned monitor is as important for user health and comfort as the correct height for a keyboard and mouse. Forcing users to add another $400 to a $1,600 monitor just to get adjustability is a poor choice. Which is a shame because this really is a beautiful monitor in every other way. Even if it does look weird on a VESA mount.

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