Apple reveals Studio Display’s best features won’t work with Windows 11

Apple March Event 2022
(Image credit: Apple)

When Apple revealed its new 27-inch Studio Display at its March Event, it talked up many of its advanced features such as Center Stage and Spatial Audio, but has since revealed that many of these features will only work if you connect the monitor to a compatible Mac or MacBook.

Center Stage is a feature that cleverly focuses the built-in 12MP webcam on you, adjusting the zoom and pan of the camera as you move around. Meanwhile, Spatial Audio uses Dolby Atmos to offer immersive 3D sound from the Studio Display’s six speakers, and the Studio Display also supports Apple’s Siri virtual assistant for hands-free voice commands.

These features are all powered by Apple’s A13 Bionic chip, which is built into the Studio Display and is the same one found in the iPhone 11, iPhone SE and modern iPads. However, Apple has confirmed to TechRadar that any A13-dependant features of the Studio Display will only work if you connect a supported Mac or MacBook to the monitor.

So, while you could buy a Studio Display and connect it to a Windows 11 PC, you’ll actually be missing out on some of the best features of the monitor. It’ll display in 5K at 60Hz, and the webcam will work, but it will be treated as a regular webcam. As the A13 chip also adjusts the quality of the webcam, it’s likely footage on a Windows (or Linux) device won’t look as good.

Analysis: Disappointing, but not a surprise

Apple March Event 2022

(Image credit: Apple)

This news will come as a blow to anyone using a Windows device that fancied getting the Studio Display. Without those extra features, it’s hard to justify spending $1,599 (£1,499 / AU$2,499).

If you have a Mac or MacBook, then the Studio Display will be more appealing – though you’ll need to have a relatively recent device, with the 2016 MacBook Pros being the oldest Macs that are supported.

Here are the Mac and iPad models that can use the Studio Display’s advanced features:

Macs will need to have macOS Monterey 12.3 or later installed, and iPads need iPadOS 15.4 or later.

The fact that Apple has released a monitor with features locked to its other products is pretty unique – usually you can plug a monitor into any device as long as you have the correct ports or an adapter. However, it’s not that surprising. This is a company, after all, that has released a smartwatch and smart speaker that only works with its phones.

Once again, Apple has made a product for Apple users without feeling the need to make it appeal to people on other platforms.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.