At $5,000, Apple’s new Pro Display XDR definitely ain’t cheap, but with a 32-inch screen, 6K resolution, full HDR support (with a ridiculous peak brightness of 1600 nits), and color reproduction that some are claiming is better than OLED, you can sort of see where all that money is going.
But then Apple continued to strike fear into bank accounts everywhere when it announced that the stand for the Pro Display XDR would cost another $1,000 on top of that. I repeat: That’s another grand just for a monitor stand. And you better like it, because aside from Apple’s $200 VESA mount adapter, the Pro Stand is your only non-DIY choice for keeping that fancy monitor from falling over.
After Apple’s keynote was over, it seemed like Apple’s expensive monitor stand was the only thing people wanted to talk about. In fact, the price for Apple’s Pro Stand is so high, the crowd at WWDC 2019 let out an audible gasp when its pricing was announced, and that was in a room filled with reporters, Apple employees, Apple developers, and other assorted Apple followers who really ought to be immune to Apple sticker shock by now.
Now I do have to mention that the Pro Display XDR’s monitor stand isn’t just a static arm. It does allow the display to rotate into portrait mode and has a neat hinge that allows you to easily adjust the display’s height and angle independently, which is pretty slick. It even has a magnetic connector that allows owners to easily detach the stand for transportation, in case you’re someone (or more likely an organization) that needs to move $5,000 displays around on the regular. Even so, $1,000 feels like a lot of money for a monitor stand.
That price seems even more ridiculous when you compare the Pro Display XDR’s stand to the Surface Studio 2, which has a similar display mount that allows the system’s screen to tilt and move up and down with ease, while also allowing the screen to go even lower and transform into something like a digital drafting table. That’s something Apple’s expensive stand can’t do, though the trade-off for that is the Surface Studio 2's inability to rotate into portrait mode.
But the real eye-opener is that the Surface Studio 2 starts at $3,500, and that’s for the entire system which includes a 4500 x 3000 28-inch touchscreen, Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, and Nvidia discrete graphics among other things.
And if you look outside of desktops, the same $1,000 Apple is charging for a monitor stand could be used to purchase a brand new iPhone XS, a new 4K TV (or two), more than three Nintendo Switches, or 112 cheese graters to pair with a shiny new Pro Display. And these are Cuisinart graters, so you know they’re quality.
That said, I suppose none of this really matters, because the new $6,000 Mac Pro, $5,000 Pro Display XDR, and $1,000 Pro Stand aren’t really meant for normal people or even a talented home artist. They are intended for super high-end design firms and animation studios with massive equipment budgets to throw around.
Still, I can’t get past the thought that all of this hubbub could have been completely avoided if Apple had just priced its Pro Display XDR at $6,000 instead of $5,000, and then tossed in the Pro Stand for free. At $5,000, Apple’s Pro Display is so expensive, most folks immediately knew it was out of reach, so tacking another $1,000 onto its price tag wasn’t going to make much difference. But listing a monitor stand at $1,000 was just low enough for people to get worked up.
After thinking about it more, for what appears to be a reference grade display meant for graphics pros, Apple’s $1,000 Pro Stand is expensive but it’s not exactly the rip off a lot of people think it is. Watching the minor the uproar from the sidelines, perhaps the best thing Apple could do is go and create more affordable versions of the Pro Display and Pro Stand that a regular person might actually be able to afford. I think all Mac fans want is a modern Apple desktop they can call their own, not some hard to upgrade all-in-one or micro tower, and the new Mac Pro, Pro Display XDR, and Pro Stand definitely aren’t that.
So is Apple’s $1,000 Pro Stand ridiculous? Sure, but it’s on the same level as a mouse with a port on the bottom so you can’t use it while its charging, or better yet, a gold-plated Apple Watch. And as I said before, the Pro Display XDR and Pro Stand weren’t meant for us anyways.