YouTube reviews of the Apple Studio Display came out this week. The biggest flaw with the new 5K monitor was the non-removable power cable. You could rip out the power cable with brute force and risk damaging the display panel. Or use a special tool that available only to Apple employees to remove the power cable.
Should the Apple Studio Display have a removable power cable? I’ll explain from my experience as a consumer and an I.T. support specialist.
As a consumer, a non-removable power cable for a monitor doesn’t bother me. I set up the Acer 24″ 1080p monitor for my work from home stand-up desk last year. I set up the Pixio 27″ 1440p monitor for my home office in 2019. After I installed the monitors, I haven’t touched the power cables in years.
An argument for a removable power cable was kids and pets. If your kids and pets can mangle the power cable, you’re not doing enough to protect your expensive gear.
When I took in my vintage 2006 black MacBook for repair into the Apple Store in 2012, I sat at the Genius Bar for an hour. The guy next to me had a toddler who poured water into the keyboard of his MacBook Pro. The Genius Bar tech gave him the bad news. The price of replacing the water-logged logic board was almost less than buying a new MacBook Pro. Because he didn’t protect his expensive laptop from his toddler, he paid $2,300 for a new MacBook Pro.
When I worked at Intuit in 2006, a coworker brought in a chewed-up IBM ThinkPad laptop for repair. She also brought in her large dog that chewed up the laptop. After she went through three laptops in three months, management revoked her work from home privileges. Since Intuit was a dog-friendly workplace, she brought her dog with her every day. The dog caused a different set of problems in a different building from where I worked.
Another argument was office chairs rolling over and damaging the power cable. Power cables need to be out of the way to prevent tripping and fire hazards. If you have power cables lying out in the open, I can see how the kids and the pets can get at them.
I.T. Support Specialist
As an I.T. support specialist, a non-removable power cable on a monitor would be inconvenient. The power cable would have to wrap around the stand when the monitor was in storage. That increases the risk of the power cable getting damaged in storage and deployment.
What most people don’t realizes that monitors come in two types: built-in power supplies and external power bricks.
A monitor with an internal power supply requires a standard power cable. An I.T. support specialist could load up a cart with monitors and grab power cables from a bin. The downside to internal power supplies that they’re difficult to repair. Monitors with dead power supplies end up on the recycling pile.
A monitor with an external power brick requires the correct power brick. Unless all the monitors are the same model, power bricks can vary from model to model. An I.T. support specialist will have to verify the correct power brick for each monitor. The upside to external power bricks is being easy to replace if they stopped working. That keeps good monitors off the recycling pile.
In the 30 years that I’ve owned a half-dozen monitors, I only had one monitor die from an internal power supply.
Tech YouTubers complaining about the non-removable power cable are revealing that they’re not consumers. Apple has always been a consumer-oriented company. If you buy the Studio Display, and, if you keep it safe from kids, pets, and office chairs, you will have it for years. If the internal power supply dies in the Studio Display, I hope you bought AppleCare+ to extend the warranty.