Apple secretly updated 13-inch Unibody MacBook screens

If you've bought a 13-inch Unibody MacBook in the last few weeks, you might be in for a pleasant surprise. Apple has secretly updated the screens on recent MacBooks to a significantly higher quality. One very similar to, if not the exact same as, the more expensive MacBook Air.  The MacBooks on display in the Apple Stores haven't even been updated yet (I checked).

Forum posters are up in arms about the changes both here and here. It appears that at the end of April, Apple started shipping Unibody MacBooks with a new part number for the screen.  If you have a 13-inch MacBook Unibody, check your System Preferences/Displays/Color/Open Profile/#13 you'll see something like what I have below:


You can also find out your screen's part number by running the following command:

ioreg -lw0 | grep IODisplayEDID | sed "/[^<]*</s///" | xxd -p -r | strings -6

I have the old screen, an LGPhilips LP133WX2-TLC1, and yes, it is isn't that great - but I am not a photographer, graphic designer or artist and I knew what I was buying.  Are the new screens really that great though?  One of the Macrumors forum posters compared the old screens with the new screens below:

Comparison of old MacBook on right and New MacBook on left


There is certainly a difference from this view, though it isn't the best quality camera shot.  There could also be calibration and burn-in differences. 

MacBook owners in the forums are saying that they notice significantly better blacks and a wider viewing angle before washout.

So what screen did Apple put in these new MacBooks? The new screen is Apple part number 9CA8. That corresponds to a part number of B133EW04 V.3.

It appears from a Google Search that Apple now uses  a 13.3-inch glossy AU Optronics screen.  In the tear down of the MacBook Air, it was revealed that it also has a 13.3-inch AU Optronics screen.  This one is the B133EW03 V.1 – a very similar model to the new Unibody MacBook's. (see below)


So, I am sort of bummed that I have a lower quality screen but I am glad that Apple has improved the quality of the MacBook displays.  Perhaps this is the first step towards these things being labeled "Pro Machines".

via @kristofferabild

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