Friday, September 3, 1999

Apple Cinema Display - why bother?

Can somebody please explain to me as a web developer the benefits of buying the Apple Cinema Display?

I've seen a few articles here and there where they tout it as the monitor that web developers will go ga-ga over, like this more balanced one at WebReview.com. But so far, none of them have even remotely justified it, they've just given in to the Apple hype. Perhaps it was marketing genius to make the monitor the big announcement over the new G4 at this week's Seybold Conference in San Francisco, but I don't see it. The audacity of that has certainly brought the monitor into the limelight, and it's not like anyone was going to fail to notice the G4 if they didn't promote it quite as much.

$3,999 for the monitor, or $500 more than a pretty solid G4. It just doesn't make sense. For that kind of money, why not get two good monitors? Or why not get one good 19" and a $100 14" monitor?

One argument is the need to place palettes somewhere. Well, 22" is nice, but you get more area off the 17"/19" and 14" dual monitor setup at a fraction of the price. At home I run my monitor at 800 x 600. The comparable resolution for the Cinema Display is 1,024 x 640. Wow. 224 extra pixels of width and 40 of height. Is that even a full palette? At work, I run at 1024 x 768. The comparable Cinema Display resolution is 1,280 x 800 pixels. Not enough to get me interested, especially since I can have a 640 x 480 or 800 x 600 second monitor dedicated to holding my palettes.

Is some web geek somewhere going to decide that his designs look better at this new 'cinema' style aspect ratio than at the traditional 4x3? Is he going to start bitching about supporting not only 640 x 480, but also a 4 x 3 aspect ratio? Is the two-page display that important to the web developer? If so, what ever happened to all those lovely Radius two-page monitors I used to work on, but have since lost track of?

Plus, it's still a liquid crystal display, and while I know that color accuracy isn't achievable on the web, I'd like to feel more comfortable with it. I will admit, for an LCD, the monitor looks better than most (it had better for that price). But at the same time, how many people can you crowd around your desktop before they're outside of the 160 degree viewing angle (yes, it's good, but it's not good enough for the groups that gather around my machine).

There is the smaller footprint, but I'd still rather have a monitor arm so I can crank it anywhere at any time. Frankly, I don't care what color my computer is, or how pretty it looks. I want a case with a flat top so I can stack stuff, and I want a monitor on an arm so I can swing it around as I adjust my seat. And hey, I wanna put my collection of Smurfs on my monitor as well, it's another shelf to me. I know it sounds silly, but where would I stack them if I got this new monitor?

Still, probably one of the best flat screens I've seen, but not worth the hype or the dollars in my book. Do check out the specs, though, and get jealous at the first geek on your block to get one.

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