Thursday, May 24, 2007

That's not quite what it says ...

Yesterday, John Gruber posted this on his Daring Fireball website regarding the recent controversy over MacBook /MacBook Pro displays being falsely advertised by Apple:

Gruber writes:
I’m getting lots of email from people saying this whole issue of 6-bit notebook displays is [null], because all notebook displays from all vendors are in fact 6-bit, and that they all simulate millions of colors using “temporal dithering”. If so, fine by me, so long as the results look good.

But that’s not what this tech note from Apple says.

For example, regarding the 17-inch iMac, it says:

The graphics card temporally dithers the 6 bits per component to show up to millions of colors.

But regarding the MacBook Pro, it says:

The display supports 3D acceleration and display depths up to 24 bits per pixel at all supported screen resolutions.

The 17-inch MacBook Pro supports an LCD display size of 1680 × 1050 pixels at 116 dpi and
shows up to millions of colors.

Emphasis added.


Note on the 17" MacBook Pro display it says supports and shows; whereas the iMac display is specific in it's description of it's display's dithering. Is it misleading; yes. Is it wrong; no. It does support that on LCD displays that support that resolution, color depth, and response time.

I think this could easily be compared to the CRT "viewable" debate. If you recall, CRT's were measured by the size of the glass surface area - not the viewable image area. For example: a 15 INCH CRT was usually 14.8" viewable, a 17 INCH CRT was usually 16.7" viewable. Where this really made a difference was how curved the screen glass was. Some curvatures actually reduced the viewable by a half inch further. It wasn't that the whole computer industry was lying - this is just the standard they agreed on for reporting sizes. I don't see this "color bit depth debate" as any different. I'm happy as long as it looks good. I've NEVER had a nicer looking display on a laptop or seen one any better than the one on my MacBook.

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