updated 12:35 pm EDT, Wed August 6, 2008
New Cinema Display at MWSF
Apple may have a long-awaited update to its Cinema Display line in store for early next year, according to a new rumor. The company has largely left the displays alone since mid-2004 outside of minor panel upgrades but is now allegedly planning an upgrade as part of an environmentally friendly switch: at least some models in the plan will include LED backlighting, which would fulfill Apple chief Steve Jobs' plans to eliminate mercury from displays as soon as possible by dropping cold-cathode fluorescent (CCFL) backlights.
LED lighting would also improve the displays' standing for visual professionals. The technology produces even lighting across the entire display that helps with color accuracy and often boosts contrast ratios.
Cost is cited as a potential setback to introducing a complete range of LED displays. A 30-inch model with the advanced lighting, such as the Samsung XL30, frequently costs over $4,700; smaller displays such as the 20-inch XL20 are often priced nearing $1,200. A switchover would require either a large reduction in the cost of manufacturing or a new approach that brings the prices closer to those for existing CCFL displays from Apple, which start at $599 and finish at $1,799.
No word has been received as to whether or not Apple will change display sizes or aspect ratios; Dell and others have begun offering 16:9 ratio LCDs at 24-inch and lower sizes that frequently trade some vertical resolution for a better view in HD video and a lower price.