It seems that Apple forgot about the A13 Bionic processor that powers its own Studio Display, as a recent firmware update caused the monitor to malfunction.
On April 8, Apple stopped signing iOS update 15.4 after it pushed down update 15.4.1 on March 30. Normally when an update stops signing, it’s not available anymore and can no longer be installed. But since Studio Display uses 15.4 and cannot install 15.4.1, this meant that over the weekend users were out of luck.
According to MacWorld, anyone with issues using the monitor was met with a message stating: “Apple Studio Display firmware update could not be completed. Try again in an hour. If the problem persists, contact an authorized Apple service provider.”
As of April 10, Apple has fixed the issue and users have reported that the firmware update was installed without a hitch. However, the tech giant will most likely need to overhaul the signing and un-signing of iOS updates since multiple products require various versions to operate.
This isn’t the first time the Apple Studio Display needed a fix. Soon after its launch, the monitor received an update in order to fix the low quality of its webcam, as reported by multiple outlets such as TechCrunch and The Wall Street Journal.
Analysis: the perils of an ecosystem
When you have a whole lot of products that are supposed to work with each other seamlessly, but they aren't running on the same system, problems are bound to pop up.
While Apple is known for a very tight product catalog that keeps the number of models currently being sold to a fairly lean lineup, Apple has been expanding its offerings in recent years.
Whether it's the Apple HomePod, the recent Apple AirPods 3, or any number of its MacBook and Mac products, Apple is having to juggle a lot more discrete systems that are supposed to work without the user even really thinking about it. It's kind of Apple's thing, so while it's kind of funny to think that Apple accidentally nerfed its own high-end workstation monitor by mistake, it's also symptomatic of a growing number of interlocking products where it becomes harder to predict what any single change to the system will have.
While Apple typically runs a tight ship, we wouldn't be surprised if we saw more of this kind of thing in the future.