Following widespread complaints about the webcam in the Studio Display, Apple will very soon release a separate firmware update in an attempt to resolve the problems.
Owners of the Studio Display reported that the image quality of its webcam was noticeably weaker than that of the iPad Pro, which in theory should be the same. It produced washed-out, noisy images, they complained, while the crop was “comically high”, according to Macworld columnist Jason Snell.
Apple agreed to look into the issue, and in April announced that tweaks to the webcam were included in macOS Monterey 12.4 beta 3. These tweaks seemed to improve the situation to an extent, although by no means everyone was satisfied; Jason Snell described it as a definite improvement but added: “I hope the team at Apple that’s working on this firmware continues that work, because there’s more that can be done to improve things.”
Apple subsequently announced that you wouldn’t need to update macOS to get the webcam fix: it would bundle the tweaks in a separate firmware update, Studio Display Firmware 15.5. This update, the company claims, “refines camera tuning, including improved noise reduction, contrast, and framing.” And it’s almost here, following the seeding yesterday of the Release Candidate (RC).
The RC is only available to beta testers, but it’s one of the very last stages in the beta process, and signals that the public release is imminent. And the fact that it’s available as a separate update is a big deal: as iMore argues, it never made sense for display firmware changes to be folded in with macOS updates, and this separation will make it easier for Apple to respond quickly to further specific issues without having to go through the process of a macOS update.