Individual Entry


A close call


Recently, while looking into 1080p monitors for my PC, I came very close to considering an Apple LED Cinema Display. I can’t say that Apple is generally the first supplier I think of when it comes to purchasing computer components: I’m not a Mac user, probably never will be, and in any event their goods tend to be a little too expensive for my tastes. That’s not to say, however, that I have anything against the peripherals they sell; it’s just that, as a PC user, it doesn’t generally cross my mind to go for products designed for Macs, even when compatibility isn’t an issue. Still, I have to admit that the LED Cinema Display is a very attractive beast, and I don’t just mean it’s made of nicer plastic than the competition. Its main draw is its use of LED technology, which, in comparison with the more widely used LCD technology, uses less power, is less likely to fade over time, and may also result in more uniform backlighting.

Unfortunately, the LED Cinema Display currently sells for about £600. That’s a lot of money to fork out for a 24” computer screen, although not, in my opinion, if you have very exacting standards and the product ends up delivering what you’re looking for. Some people pay a premium for fancy clothes, jewellery, or fast cars; for me, it’s computer equipment, particularly where image quality is concerned. So, while the price tag did make me shudder, it certainly wasn’t enough to deter me from looking into the product.

I’m extremely glad I carried out this preliminary research, therefore, because, had I just waltzed into Glasgow’s Apple temple and picked up this monitor, I would have got home to find that, not only does it not have a power button of any kind (this is, you must remember, coming from the company that removed the ability to select songs from one of its MP3 players and marketed this as a “feature” rather than the lack thereof), but actually can’t be connected to PCs. Not unreasonable, you might think, given that it’s an Apple product designed first and foremost for use with their own systems. But then, after digging a little further, I discovered that not only have PC users been shut out in the cold, so too has just about every Mac user. The LED Cinema Display, rather than using a conventional DVI or HDMI connector, is equipped with Apple’s own proprietary Mini DisplayPort, which is only compatible with the MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro with Mini DisplayPort. That’s right: even the majority of Mac users are locked out of using this device.

Well done, guys. You almost had me for a moment. I strongly doubt that I’ll ever switch from Windows to MacOS or buy an Apple computer instead of building my own PC (if you’re not going to run MacOS, what would be the point?), but I might at least have been tempted to buy one of your glamorous displays, were it not for the fact that it would be nothing more than an attractive doorstop. Genius, just genius.

Posted: Sunday, January 25, 2009 at 7:34 PM | Comments: 4
Categories: Technology



I think only the backlight is LED on that Apple monitor. It's still a LCD.

Posted by: Kram Sacul, January 26, 2009 4:37 AM


Right on the money. I've been contemplating buying a LED Cinema Display for a few weeks now (and I am a Mac user, and a dedicated one at that). However, I was just as surprised as you when I found out that the display is only for recent MacBooks, thus excluding my old Powerbook and the Mac Mini I had intended to buy with the Display. I still don't understand why they would do something like this.

However, an updated Cinema Display has been rumored to arrive early this year, so I can only hope they've fixed the major errors of the old model.

Posted by: Erlingur, January 26, 2009 11:29 PM


If the iPod Shuffle and the LED Cinema Display didn't convince you, maybe the new MacBook Wheel will:


Posted by: , January 27, 2009 5:36 PM


Haha, yes, I saw that video a couple of weeks back - funny stuff. The scary thing is that it’s not that far off from reality.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, January 29, 2009 5:02 PM

Comments on this entry and all entries up to and including June 30th 2009 have been closed. The discussion continues on the new Land of Whimsy blog:


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