Victor Wynne

‘Pro’ has lost all meaning, and Apple knows it

Mitchell Clark:

From the jump, Apple made it clear who the Mac Studio and Studio Display were for. It showed them being used by musicians, 3D artists, and developers in its presentation, and the message was clear: these are products for creative professionals or people who aspire to be creative professionals. You know, the same exact crowd it’s targeted with MacBook Pro commercials for years.

“My first thought was, ‘Oh, I wonder when the iPhone Studio comes out,” says Jonathan Balck, co-founder and managing director of ad agency Colossus, in an interview with The Verge. “Pro was exclusive, and it was about one way of doing things, but the whole culture is moving toward creativity,” he adds while musing whether we could see Apple’s Pro branding shift to become Studio branding instead.

I can hear people asking: “Isn’t it a bit early to predict that, given that we’ve only seen two products?” It’s a very fair question. But it definitely seems like a first step — to me, the Mac Studio line is a clear successor to Apple’s iMac Pro. Both computers are powered by monstrous CPUs and come standard with 10Gb Ethernet and a healthy crop of Thunderbolt and USB ports. I’m convinced that, had Apple released the new Studio even two years ago, it would’ve put “Pro” in the name. (Though, to play devil’s advocate, I’m not as sure it would’ve done so for the Studio Display.)

I disagree entirely with the notion that the Studio name is some sort of introduction to a new branding strategy by Apple. It takes so many design cues from the Mac mini that if Studio were in fact going to become a new adjective appended to product names it would have started already. I agree that Pro has been overused, and doesn’t carry much significance for products like AirPods Pro but the same can be said for the word Studio. What would become of the near future redesign of the Mac Pro? They obviously can’t call it Mac Studio. iPhone Studio doesn’t make any sense, nor does iPad Studio. No, I believe Pro is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Studio is the name of the product because it’s fitting for the niche which it serves, simple as that.

Though I wouldn’t be surprised if a revision to the Pro Display XDR adopted this display naming scheme, and takes the name Studio Display XDR. Apple has already shown a willingness to share this terminology across the 12.9” iPad Pro, and the 2021 14” and 16” MacBook Pros because of the underlying tech that warrants the XDR branding.