The new Apple Cinema Display and MacBooks complete Apple’s all-glass, glossy screen approach and signals the end of the matte surface, glare resistant displays that creative professionals have come to know and love over the years. 

When asked about the choice to move to all-glossy displays Phil Schiller responded “You offset the reflection by the brightness, and consumers love it” at today’s announcement event. I find this comment disappointing and it shows a disconnect with creative professionals. Consumers *do* love bright, glossy screens. Creative professionals, however, don’t like *either* extreme brightness or glare. When calibrating a display, creative professionals typically turn the brightness down to the 90-150 cd/m2 luminance range and choose a warmer color temperature for paper white matching. In order to achieve this critical, display to paper white matching one can’t “offset the reflection by the brightness” as Phil suggests. 

I travel through several photography and design studios every week and the comment I regularly hear about the new iMacs is “I love the machine except for the terrible, glossy display.” In the same fashion, the new laptops and cinema displays will force creative professionals to struggle with glare, excess contrast and the perception of extreme shadow detail. I’ll probably recommend that creative professionals consider non-glossy displays from NEC, EIZO, Samsung and (gasp!) maybe even Dell (for value). 

The new laptops don’t offer a significant CPU speed increase and future models aren’t expected to have the same increases that we have seen in the past. Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) speeds are likely to increase substantially and it’s in this area that the new laptops are much faster. Some applications have already been updated to take advantage of the GPU acceleration trend. Apple’s Aperture, Final Cut products and Adobe’s Photoshop CS4 all utilize the GPU for greater performance. Photographers, however, are relying less on Photoshop and more on Lightroom which unfortunately doesn’t offer GPU acceleration. Because Lightroom has become “command central” for most professional photographers the new laptops won’t offer the performance boast they were hoping for. 

I think todays products leave creative professionals with the following questions:
“When will Adobe update Lightroom, Distiller and InDesign to utilize GPUs for greater performance?”
“What is a ‘best value’ non glare display that I can rely on instead of Apple’s new ACDs?”
“Will Apple listen to professionals and consider offering non glare versions of their displays?”
“Will a 3rd party consider offering a film product that transforms a glossy display into a non glossy one?”