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It was reported last weekend that Apple’s new Mac Studio features replaceable SSD storage. Even if the Mac Studio can’t be upgraded because of hardware limits, a following video from YouTuber Luke Miani indicates that Apple appears to be banning replacement SSDs via AppleTrack.
The Mac Studio’s storage is not soldered to the mainboard, as Max Tech revealed during its deconstruction over the weekend. Unscrewing and removing the panel is required, as well as pulling out an unencrypted power supply to get access to the SSD. Apple appears to be preventing any additional or switched storage on a software level, even if you can dismantle your Mac Studio to get to the expandable SSD hardware slots.
A complete dissection of the Mac Studio reveals a possible upgrade path for SSD storage.
In other words, even if you’re willing to disassemble your computer, you won’t be able to avoid Apple’s exorbitantly priced SSD upsells for additional storage.
That’s in accordance with what Apple says on its product website for the Mac Studio: “Mac Studio storage is not user accessible.” Configuring to a greater storage capacity if you think you’ll need it in the future is a good idea.”
It’s not that I don’t like the current version of the Mac Studio because it isn’t user-upgradable. Apple has arrived at this position thanks to its philosophy.
Because the SSDs in the Mac Studio may be taken out and replaced if they become corrupted. Aside from Apple’s design, there is nothing here that requires either hiding it under rubber sheets or locking it in software.
The Mac Studio’s internal storage can’t be upgraded since Apple made a deliberate decision to do so. When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter if the company is trying to discourage customers from dismantling their computers in search of cheaper SSD upgrades or is trying to nudge customers toward its more expensive options (which, because they are non-replaceable, implicitly urge customers to buy more upfront, lest they be caught with too little after the fact).
It is true that the Mac Studio makes it extremely difficult for customers to access the SSD bays, but it is also a decision made by Apple. This isn’t an ultra-slim all-in-one like the M1 iMac, nor is it a laptop or tablet. It’s a desktop computer, thus it’s possible that a larger chassis may have accommodated more expandable storage
Because the SSDs are already removable, Apple can’t argue for things like the unified memory, which delivers concrete benefits by not providing a user-replaceable component. Just to keep Studio owners from doing it on their own, Apple is forbidding them from it.
Our experience with the 2019 Mac Pro shows us that Apple can accomplish this as well, and it does so gladly by selling its customers fresh SSDs that they can then install at their convenience. (We can only hope that the trend it started will continue with the Apple Silicon-powered Mac Pro that was teased.)
However, the decision to severely restrict the Mac Studio is ultimately regrettable. I would like to see Apple treat it as a professional-grade system rather than a pre-built box like so many of the company’s recent laptops. The storage capacity of a standard desktop computer should be expandable in 2022 without the need to purchase a new Mac Pro.