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Steve Jobs confirms first Macs with LED backlighting due this year

post #1 of 68
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In revealing a timeline to abolish the use of toxic chemicals in Apple products, company chief executive Steve Jobs on Wednesday confirmed that the first Macs to sport LED-backlit displays will begin turning up later this year.

In an open letter to customers and shareholders on plans for a greener Apple, Jobs revealed the Cupertino-based company plans to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of mercury by transitioning to LED backlighting for all displays when technically and economically feasible.

"We plan to introduce our first Macs with LED backlight technology in 2007," he wrote. "Our ability to completely eliminate fluorescent lamps in all of our displays depends on how fast the LCD industry can transition to LED backlighting for larger displays."

The Apple co-founder's comments offer the hardest form of confirmation to an exclusive AppleInsider report on the company's plans for its next-generation MacBook Pro notebooks.

In January, AppleInsider reported that a revision to Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro due this year would mark the start of a gradual transition away from cold cathode fluorescent backlights (CCFLs) and towards LED backlights for the Mac maker.

At the time, people familiar with the matter said Apple had agreed to implement the LED technology only within a revision to its 15-inch MacBook Pro but was mulling a broader expansion to the 17-inch model and across its 13-inch consumer MacBook line. Jobs' comments on Wednesday suggest the company is accelerating plans for adopting the technology across all of its products.

In addition to being more environmentally friendly than CCFLs, LED technology is more efficient at distributing lighting evenly across the entire display surface and offers an increase in color saturation. It also consumes less power, runs cooler, and lasts longer than CCFLs.

For end users, the new technology translates into improved notebook battery life and displays that will maintain their initial levels of brightness longer into their respective life-cycles. Come this fall, LED-lit displays will also deliver a more vivid canvas for the various software user interface enhancements and animation techniques that will be included with Apple's Mac OS X Leopard operating system overhaul.
post #2 of 68
I want my LED-backlit subnotebook! (SubMacbook?)
post #3 of 68
Hooray! Hoping this will come to the iMacs as well.
post #4 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by psychodoughboy View Post

Hooray! Hoping this will come to the iMacs as well.

It's supposed to replace all displays. The iMac does come with a display.
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post #5 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlooker View Post

It's supposed to replace all displays. The iMac does come with a display.

It'll start with the portables, for which LEDs are more affordable, and then work its way into the iMacs and Cinema displays "when technically and economically feasible."
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Crentist?! That sounds an awful lot like *dentist.*
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post #6 of 68
My bet is that anything new or updated that has a display and is announced next month will have LED backlighting.
post #7 of 68
Anyone know how these might be able (or unable) to be used as touch screens? My first thought is MultiTouch of course...
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post #8 of 68
Given this:

http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/periphera...lit-244450.php

Apple must respond with their flagship Cinema Displays, even if they cost more.

Honestly. Which would you rather buy? The CCFL backlit display that you know will be at 50% brightness in six months, or an LED backlit display which will probably have years more of useful life?

(PS: Yes, I'm in the market for a 30" display. I'm holding on to my wallet for fear of the XL30 pricing.)
post #9 of 68
I read somewhere that the first flat panels with led backlighting had poor color range, only 47% of NTSC.
post #10 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

I read somewhere that the first flat panels with led backlighting had poor color range, only 47% of NTSC.

I don't know the NTSC color range, but I currently have a Lenovo 15 inch LED backlight display (for work ) and the color and brightness are pretty good.

And for me, the most important thing about going to LED backlight displays is that it is easier on the eyes. My older laptop gave me migraines. The new LED backlight displays don't. That's pretty important if you spend your day on a computer!
post #11 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isomorphic View Post

The CCFL backlit display that you know will be at 50% brightness in six months

Shit the bed - is that right?
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post #12 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Messiah View Post

Shit the bed - is that right?

Hyperbole.
post #13 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

I read somewhere that the first flat panels with led backlighting had poor color range, only 47% of NTSC.

Maybe. But the backlight shouldn't have too much to do with color range in an LCD monitor. You might be thinking about actual LED displays, which do not have LCDs at all.
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post #14 of 68
With Santa Rosa out shortly, I'd expect updates in the very near future to at least the Macbook Pro. I just got an email from Apple, along the lines of "Student prices expire after finals". I suspect that this is to try to get people to buy the current models, while the new ones will be revved within a few weeks.
post #15 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isomorphic View Post

Given this:

http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/periphera...lit-244450.php

Apple must respond with their flagship Cinema Displays..

Yeah, Apple could even respond with a 16:9 (or 16:10) aspect ratio display.
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #16 of 68
Huh? The current Cinema Dislays are already 16x10. 16x9 is actually not that great for a workstation display, because you don't have room for the menubar and Dock (or whatever other tools your application uses)
post #17 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by psychodoughboy View Post

Hooray! Hoping this will come to the iMacs as well.

Well, check out what we already know:

1. Apple plans to introduce the first LED flat-panels in 2007, but is dependent on the panel manufacturers.

2. 10.5 is coming in October and will feature resolution-independence.

3. from 2 we can hypothesize that Apple is going to release a high-resolution display AFTER 10.5. Using a high-resolution display with Tiger will lead to small unreadable letters.

4. Since it doesn't make sense to change the display line-up twice in a short time, we're talking about a single revision.

5. That revision will have to happen AFTER 10.5, meaning after October.

6. Conclusion: no new displays (and only minor revisions for the iMac) until after 10.5.
post #18 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachPruckowski View Post

Huh? The current Cinema Dislays are already 16x10. 16x9 is actually not that great for a workstation display, because you don't have room for the menubar and Dock (or whatever other tools your application uses)

Did you click on the link to the display he posted? It's to the new LCD, LED backlit display from Samsung which has a 4:3 aspect ratio.
My point was all Apple has to do is release a display with their usual aspect ratio to outdo Sammy. (I didn't say 16:10, because it would probably just confuse some people, that's way I put it in brackets).
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #19 of 68
WWDC,
new displays and finally the huge beast 40"+ ACD.
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post #20 of 68
This could lead to actual AppleTV televisions!

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post #21 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by synp;

Conclusion: no new displays (and only minor revisions for the iMac) until after 10.5.

Probably accurate. Res Independence aside, the OLPC has a 200ppi display.
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post #22 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

This could lead to actual AppleTV televisions!

Please.. don't encourage me.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #23 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolchak View Post

I want my LED-backlit subnotebook! (SubMacbook?)

I'd say MacBook mini
post #24 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Messiah View Post

Shit the bed - is that right?

Of course not. The brightness diminishes with time, yes, but not nearly as much as this statement assures.
post #25 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by psychodoughboy View Post

Hooray! Hoping this will come to the iMacs as well.

If you mean this year, then doubtful. Next year probably.
post #26 of 68
I hope Apple offers better dimming with their LED backlights than they do with their current desktop displays. The current crop is too bright for me at the dimmest level. Are the people that are asking for brighter displays using them outdoors? Do they have cataracts? Any brighter and it's getting uncomfortably close to a tanning booth.
post #27 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I hope Apple offers better dimming with their LED backlights than they do with their current desktop displays. The current crop is too bright for me at the dimmest level. Are the people that are asking for brighter displays using them outdoors? Do they have cataracts? Any brighter and it's getting uncomfortably close to a tanning booth.

No wonder Mac users are universally such good looking people!

Mac solarium - from the Latin 'perfect sunlight'.
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post #28 of 68
My guess is that reductions in other component costs will give Apple the room needed to add a new LED LCD panel to the MBP soon. Here's what I'm thinking:

15.4" LED LCD
2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
1440 x 900 pixels
xGB Turbo Memory (NAND, Robson)
2GB memory
120GB hard drive
8x double-layer SuperDrive
nVidia GeForce Go 7700
graphics with 256MB SDRAM
$2,599

Note: Samsung demonstrated a 15.4" white LED LCD early this year with these specs:
1440 x 900 pixels
330cd/M2
5.8mm thin
3.1W
post #29 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post

Maybe. But the backlight shouldn't have too much to do with color range in an LCD monitor. You might be thinking about actual LED displays, which do not have LCDs at all.

Nope, I think he is right, seems that a lot of the panels coming out (LCD panels) have lousy BTSC color coverage. Maybe its because they are cheap ones or something.

On the flip side, Apple does not publish their NTSC color coverage so they may not be that much better for all we know.
post #30 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by synp View Post

Well, check out what we already know:

1. Apple plans to introduce the first LED flat-panels in 2007, but is dependent on the panel manufacturers.

2. 10.5 is coming in October and will feature resolution-independence.

3. from 2 we can hypothesize that Apple is going to release a high-resolution display AFTER 10.5. Using a high-resolution display with Tiger will lead to small unreadable letters.

4. Since it doesn't make sense to change the display line-up twice in a short time, we're talking about a single revision.

5. That revision will have to happen AFTER 10.5, meaning after October.

6. Conclusion: no new displays (and only minor revisions for the iMac) until after 10.5.

I have a feeling that you are right on the money, like you I expect that Apple will be raising the resolution on ALL their displays and use resolution-independence to make better use of those extra pixels to make the images and text clearer.

For people like me a 30 inch monitor without resolution-independence is not usable as the text is too small at native resolution. The 24" iMac is about perfect for me to read the menus and stuff while wearing glasses.

Resolution-independence can't get here soon enough.
post #31 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I hope Apple offers better dimming with their LED backlights than they do with their current desktop displays. The current crop is too bright for me at the dimmest level. Are the people that are asking for brighter displays using them outdoors? Do they have cataracts? Any brighter and it's getting uncomfortably close to a tanning booth.

LOL, I love my tan.
post #32 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by EagerDragon View Post

For people like me a 30 inch monitor without resolution-independence is not usable as the text is too small at native resolution. The 24" iMac is about perfect for me to read the menus and stuff while wearing glasses.

The 30" and 24" have roughly the same pitch. The screen size shouldn't make any difference unless you use the screen at a different distance as a result.
post #33 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by synp View Post

Well, check out what we already know:

1. Apple plans to introduce the first LED flat-panels in 2007, but is dependent on the panel manufacturers.

2. 10.5 is coming in October and will feature resolution-independence.

3. from 2 we can hypothesize that Apple is going to release a high-resolution display AFTER 10.5. Using a high-resolution display with Tiger will lead to small unreadable letters.

4. Since it doesn't make sense to change the display line-up twice in a short time, we're talking about a single revision.

5. That revision will have to happen AFTER 10.5, meaning after October.

6. Conclusion: no new displays (and only minor revisions for the iMac) until after 10.5.

so in effect you are saying that ppl should stay away from any update to the MBP that comes out before october?

i would have thought that whatever MBP they release before Leopard (assuming it comes) would be able to take advantage of all the features Leopard offers - ie it would effectively be a 'leopard' MBP just running Tiger until the new OS comes out... it doesn't make sense. esp. considering Leopard was originally due around the same time as a possible MBP update.
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post #34 of 68
It's quite bizarre that Steve would hype LED backlit LCD displays like this. This must represent a very minor part of their super-spectacular product offerings in wait... mmm... products...

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post #35 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by sennen View Post

so in effect you are saying that ppl should stay away from any update to the MBP that comes out before october?

That post was only about the displays. The display lineup isn't updated more than once a year that I remember. I think there are usually about two updates to the pro notebooks every year. I think update #1 will be to the Santa Rosa platform, update #2 might be LED backlights as well as a small speed increase. As is much of this thread, this is just speculation, but I think is reasonable speculation.
post #36 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by sennen View Post

so in effect you are saying that ppl should stay away from any update to the MBP that comes out before october?

i would have thought that whatever MBP they release before Leopard (assuming it comes) would be able to take advantage of all the features Leopard offers - ie it would effectively be a 'leopard' MBP just running Tiger until the new OS comes out... it doesn't make sense. esp. considering Leopard was originally due around the same time as a possible MBP update.

I gather his post was referring to standalone Cinema Displays, which are updated very rarely. If they are to be updated soon (and they are LONG overdue -- the line, except for minor changes, has been pretty much static since summer '04), presumably they will come after Leopard if the updates include higher resolutions. Tiger isn't resolution-independent, meaning text and UI elements would appear inordinately tiny on high-res ACD's. October or beyond is the only reasonable timeframe here.

As for the MacBook Pro's, I can't see why they couldn't update the chipset and maybe some cosmetic details in May-June, but put off higher resolution displays until later -- perhaps early next year. The laptops' displays are even denser with pixels than the ACDs, so the negative effects of a lack of resolution independence would be even more apparent on them. I seriously cannot fathom that people think 1920x1200 is reasonable for a 17" display with fixed-size UI elements.. it's insane.
post #37 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

I read somewhere that the first flat panels with led backlighting had poor color range, only 47% of NTSC.

It depends on the panel. That Samsung XL30 is supposed to have more than the NTSC gamut--123%! That's better than most CCFL panels.
post #38 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isomorphic View Post

The CCFL backlit display that you know will be at 50% brightness in six months

Quote:
Originally Posted by Messiah View Post

Shit the bed - is that right?

I apologize; I haven't been keeping up with modern specifications. That might have been true many years ago.

An article I found from late 2003 says Toshiba was making panels with mean half-brightness times of 50,000 hours, which is well beyond the lifetime of the panel itself.

As with everything, "It depends." I'm sure cheap panels have low half-brightness lifetimes. I'm also sure that well-made LED panels have longer brightness lifetimes than equivalently well-made CCFL panels.
post #39 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Yeah, Apple could even respond with a 16:9 (or 16:10) aspect ratio display.

There's some question on whether the Samsung will indeed by 16:9 or 16:10. Time will tell.


My point was that the industry will push Apple to come out with new monitors sooner rather than later. Apple likes to be on the medium-high end with their monitors for graphics folks... they certainly don't want to miss out when a bunch of people rush to buy LED backlit monitors.
post #40 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timon View Post

My bet is that anything new or updated that has a display and is announced next month will have LED backlighting.

I second that. Jobs could have let the cat out of the bag long ago, but this announcement seems perfectly timed to spur industry chatter and allow people to be happy when they get what they were expecting, without having to wait too long to get it.
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