27-inch iMac: Best Cinema Display that Apple sells?

There's been a lot of talk about the display on Apple's new 27-inch iMac.  From iFixit's breakdown, we know it is an 11lb. 2560x1440 pixel behemoth made by LG with the model number LM270WQ1.  Before iFixit's breakdown, this display hadn't been mentioned anywhere before. 

The Display in the iMac is likely an Apple exclusive at least until LG can make enough of them to outpace demand for the new 27-inch iMac –which might be awhile.  This exclusive likely stems from Apple's $500 Million investment in LG displays at the begining of the year.

One of the great features of this product is that it can act as a monitor for other Mini DisplayPort Macs (but NOT other VGA, DVI or HDMI devices, even with adapters).

So, are Apple's customers going to buy this thing as a monitor alone?  There certainly is a case for it.  

First of all, I don't consider myself within Apple's target audience for displays and it isn't just that Apple's displays often cost over four times the industry average.  There is much more:

  1. I really, really hate the glare.  Perhaps I could position the display in such a way where the glare isn't so obvious, but to me, it isn't worth my time.  I feel like I am in the Twilight Zone when I hear people say they are fine with the glare!  The glare ruins the experience for me.
  2. I don't need perfect colors that "pop".  I like good color which I've never had problems getting from slightly better than average displays with some tweaking
  3. I do appreciate LED displays that save electricity. 
  4. I am firm believer in a simple formula on displays: More pixels=better. 
  5. I like things like Webcams, USB Hubs, Mics, speakers and SD card readers to be integrated.
  6. As an example, I have an HP 30-inch display for my MacBook with the notoriously unreliable Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter.  Because Apple hasn't addressed the adapter issue, I've recently picked up a Dell 2048 x 1152 Display with Webcam and Microphone for $250.

But clearly, people with extraordinary amounts of money to spend might want this monitor for their Mac Pro workstations or MacBook Pro laptops.

Apple's previously unquestioned high-end monitor is the 30-inch Cinema Display.  However, this product hasn't been upgraded significanly since it was introduced in June of 2004 (over 5 years!).  The price has come down 50% from $3299 to $1799 and it has been upgraded to a brighter back-lighting but the general design has not changed.  It still uses older TFT displays rather than the new LED screens like the iMac.

In fact, the 30-inch Cinema Display doesn't even have a home on Apple's site.  The only place you can find it at Apple.com is the Store

There are two benefits to the 30-inch display however:No high-glare surface and the added pixels of a 16:10 aspect ratio.  The iMac has 2560x1440 resolution while the 30-inch Cinema Display has 2560x1600 pixels.  This means that the iMac has 160x2560 fewer pixels.

Those factors will likely be overshadowed by the iMacs' many new amazing features, not the least of which that there is a Mac inside of it and it costs $100 less than the 30-inch Cinema Display.  The iMac, because it it thin and 3 inches diagonally smaller occupies less space on the users desk - and looks remarkable.  I think this will be most of Apple's display customers.

However, If you don't like the high-gloss™ of Apple's 27-inch iMac or you really want those extra pixels taken from Apple's decision to move from 16:10 to 16:9, the 30-inch display is for you.

Otherwise, you are better of with the cheaper 27-inch iMac.  I think this will be a majority of Apple's display customers.

Again, I'll be over here with my $250 23-inch Dell and 30-inch HP that combined still cost way less than what Apple has on offer.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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