Since the new Studio Display uses an A13 Bionic processor and runs iOS, Apple will issue occasional firmware updates to improve the experience. It should be an easy process, but reports began to pile up over the weekend that updating wasn’t going as smoothly as it should.
Some users registered their complaints on the Apple discussion forums about being unable to update the display to the latest version 15.4 of the firmware. Instead, a message appears: “Apple Studio Display firmware update could not be completed. Try again in an hour. If the problem persists, contact an authorized Apple service provider.” At least one user also said the failed update prevented his Mac from updating to macOS 12.3.1 until he disconnected the Studio Display.
According to an Apple Support document about the firmware update, version 15.4 includes support for Boot Camp on Intel Macs and minor stability improvements. It does not appear to include image quality adjustments for the 12MP Center Stage camera, as review units already had version 15.4 running on the display. Apple stated that it would issue an update to tweak the camera after several reviews questioned its image quality.
As it turns out, the root of the problem was Apple itself. On Friday, Apple stopped signing iOS 15.4 after it released iOS 15.4.1 on March 30. When Apple stops signing a version of an operating system, it becomes unavailable and devices can’t install it. Since the Studio Display basically has the guts of an iPhone 11, it couldn’t properly install version 15.4—and 15.4.1 isn’t available for Studio Display.
As of Sunday night, Apple had fixed the issue by allowing 15.4 to be signed again. This short saga means that Apple needs to change the way it handles the signing and un-signing of iOS updates since multiple versions will need to stick around simultaneously for iPhones and Studio Displays.
To update the firmware on the Studio Display, your Mac must have macOS 12.3.1, and if the update is available, it will appear when running Software Update in System Preferences. The Mac will also need to restart as part of the installation.