On October 14 Apple announced new MacBook notebook models. One of the performance features was for both ends of the model spectrum, new more powerful and robust video processing chips, something that photographers using laptops in the field should welcome. But hidden and overshadowed in these MacBook announcements was an entirely new Apple LCD display that is configured specifically to complement these new MacBooks.
This newest Cinema Display is to me in many ways more significant than the new notebook models, if it portends a new line of Apple Cinema Displays which is very much overdue. The reasons I say this is this latest Cinema Display is a distinct and advanced departure from the current line of Apple LCD displays. Most significantly instead of CCFL backlight it uses LED's as the light source, which environmentalist will applaud as there is no mercury to dispose of when the display's life is over. Plus LED's also provide a more even distribution of light. LED backlight LCD displays wereintroduced some time ago by the major manufacturers like NEC and Samsung, but in very expensive usually 20 inch models. This new 24 inch LED Cinema Display has a list price of $899 which is competitive for a premium product clad fancilly in aluminum. And like the most recent iMacs this LCD has a glass front cover that although shiny and reflective does protect the screen from dirt and minor damage.
However that this new 24 inch Apple Cinema Display is not offered but for use with MacBooks (or possibly iMacs) limits its market potential, and that is curious. So of course the question is does this new model provide a look into the future of a new line of Apple Cinema Displays? What makes it a MacBook companion is the interface connector has a mini DVI plug to connect directly to a MacBook, and that cable is bundled to include a cord to provide power to charge and run the macBook as well as a USB connector with a powered hub in the display housing with UB outlets so printers, scanners and other accessories can be immediately available when the MacBook is connected to this new Cinema Display. This new Apple Cinema Display also has speakers, a microphone and videocam to support video conferencing for instance with a plugged in MacBook.
The one question I still have besides whether this new 24 inch LED Apple Cinema Display is a look at a whole new range of LCD displays, is whether the LED backlight uses just all white LED's or a mix of RGB LED's which could support a much higher color gamut performance. The RGB LED's seems unlikely though at the price point quoted. And I wonder could I get an adapter and run this new display off of one of my desktop Macs, or is it worth waiting to see if more new LED Apple Cinema Displays will be announced after the first of the year, along with a suggested new Mac Mini?Even more intriguing is the question will the LCD display manufacturers like Samsung. LGE, Eizo and NEC follow Apple's lead and offer affordable, large LED backlight pro-graphics LCD displays any time soon. My guess, depending on how bad the economy gets, is yes!