New iMac available only with glossy display

Showing the glossy MacBook screen When I use a computer I want to view my email, pages and work and not watch a light-show of what’s going on behind me. Glossy displays are therefore rather unappealing and Apple’s latest iMac update has me suitably worried.

First it was the cheap-end MacBooks available only with a glossy display, then it was an option on the MacBook Pro and now the iMac is blemished with its mirror-like display (and downgraded video card from Nvidia 7300 GT to ATI HD2400 XT).

John Siracusa published a great article on Ars Technica last year called And we all shine on that covered the subject in some detail including his take on the reasons why they are popular.

John believes it comes down to shopping being an emotional experience and not a logical one with shoppers easily distracted by shiny things, loud things and bright things all of which they irrationally consider ‘better’ without a thought. This translates to purchases of reflective laptops, deafening speakers and glaring TV screens being purchased over devices that deliver solid, accurate and balanced results.

It is a sad state of affairs if we consumers are nothing more than magpies with wallets.

Do the purchasers of these devices not find their eyes and ears fatigued by the strain of dealing with displays that glare and require the brightness whacked up or speakers that sound so muddy you can’t make out detail?

The only hope is the mention of "glass cover" and "SiO2" on the iMac page. Perhaps Apple has worked out how to increase contrast without introducing copious amounts of glare by using glass rather than plastics but I doubt it.

Still iWork 08 and iLife 08 look great and the keyboard will be worth trying although I doubt it feels as good as the DAS 2.

Shame Apple are still locking out Channel Islanders from their on-line store, even when it is just to purchase a serial number. Guess I’ll have to wait a couple of days for iQ Guernsey to get some in.


4 responses

  1. Avatar for steve

    Having had a Vaio with a glossy display for 3 years I have to say I miss it, now that I have a non-glossy MBP. It's not about the 'shiny' factor at all - glossy screens simply have better colour reproduction and a wider angle of view. The reason is that anti-glare screens intentionally scatter the path of photons at ever acute angles - thus reducing the reflection but also muddying the actual colour.

    I can definitely tell the difference even on a 15" screen and have to mess about with the angle of the new anti-glare screen I have far more than I did with my glossy to get the best display to my liking, since even a few degrees and the colour starts to lose saturation. Glossies don't have this problem, you can see the same accurate colour from a much wider field of view.

    I never had any serious reflection issues with my glossy for one simple reason - when I'm using it, I'm sitting in front of it. My body blocked any potential reflection sources from behind me. If I had my time again I'd definitely pick a glossy.

    Personal taste of course. I also used glossy CRTs for years, and despised those god-awful anti-glare contraptions people put in front of them for the same reasons.

    steve August 8, 2007
  2. Avatar for Damon Stephenson

    What graphics card is in the old ones? They couldn't have downgraded the GPU surely?!

    Damon Stephenson August 8, 2007
  3. Avatar for Damien Guard

    Well it's not strictly entirely downgraded as the basic iMac had on-board Intel GMA950 graphics but there was an option for the Nvidia 7300GT which outperforms the new ATI HD2400 XT they are using.

    Check out the benchmarks.

    Damien Guard August 8, 2007
  4. Avatar for Damon Stephenson

    I thought it has a HD 2600...

    I'll wander off to the specs again!

    Damon Stephenson August 9, 2007