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Apple hit with another "millions of colors" lawsuit

post #1 of 134
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Just days after settling a lawsuit in which it was charged with misrepresenting the quality of its notebook screens, Apple Inc. has been hit with a second class-action suit rife with similar allegations over one of its iMac displays.

According to the new suit, filed in a San Jose court Monday by Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP, Apple is deceiving consumers by concealing that its new 20-inch iMac monitors are inferior to the previous generationÂs and those of the new 24-inch iMac.

Specifically, the firm takes issue with a marketing claim from the Mac maker that both the 20-inch and 24-inch iMac are capable of displaying Âmillions of colors at all resolutions." While this claim holds true for the current 24-inch model and previous generation 20-inch model -- both of which display 16,777,216 colors on 8-bit, in-plane switching (IPS) screens -- the new 20-inch iMac display is said to be capable of 98 percent fewer colors (262,144).

"Apple is duping its customers into thinking theyÂre buying 'new and improved' when in fact theyÂre getting stuck with 'new and inferior,'" Brian Kabateck, Managing Partner of KBK, said in a statement.Â* "Beneath AppleÂs 'good guy' image is a corporation that takes advantage of its customers. Our goal is to help those customers who were deceived and make sure Apple tells the truth in the future."

While Apple describes the display of both the 24-inch and 20-inch iMacs as though they were interchangeable, KBK asserts that the monitors in each of the desktop systems are of radically different technology.

The new 20-inch iMac features a 6-bit twisted nematic film (TN) LCD screen, which the firm claims is the "least expensive of its type," sporting a narrower viewing angle than the display of the 24-inch model, less color depth, less color accuracy and greater susceptibility to washout.

Apple on its website says: "No matter what you like to do on your computer  watch movies, edit photos, play games, even just view a screen saver  itÂs going to look stunning on an iMac."

However, KBK argues that the inferior technology in the 20-inch iMac is "particularly ill-suited [for] editing photographs" due to its limited color potential and the distorting effect of its color simulation processes.

"Apple is squeezing more profits for itself by using cheap screens and its customers are unwittingly paying the price," Kabateck said.

Apple last week agreed to a settlement in a similar class-action lawsuit brought on by two professional photographers, which charged that the company's Intel-based notebooks were only suited to display the "illusion of millions of colors through the use of a software technique referred to as 'dithering,' which causes nearby pixels on the display to use slightly varying shades of colors that trick the human eye into perceiving the desired color even though it is not truly that color."

The terms of that settlement were not made public.
post #2 of 134
Everyone wants a piece of the $18.4 Billion pie!

http://www.fool.com/investing/genera...-question.aspx
post #3 of 134
This is one lawsuit I agree with. Anyone know how much more it would cost Apple to use a proper display?
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post #4 of 134
Even though I think the dithered/non-dithered argument behind these lawsuits is a bit of a made-up issue, as a day to day user of that piece of poop known as the iMac 20" I can't help but wish this one wins.

Apple has indeed severely lowered their quality standards here and they really need to be taken to account over it.

The 20" screen part is absolutely atrocious.

It's only slightly better than a Dell (and that's something I'd have thought I would *never* hear myself say about an Apple product).
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post #5 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Everyone wants a piece of the $18.4 Billion pie!

http://www.fool.com/investing/genera...-question.aspx

Are you surprised? When you have money everyone is out to get you.

I think Apple is doing what all other PC manufacturers do to cut cost & be competitive at price, but Apple does have a responsibility at honesty, even if other companies also fudge the facts. If the hardware is lacking then they shouldn't try to build it up to be what it is not, they have a reputation to uphold.

Apple still rocks compared to other brands, but they have got to get out of this mindset that their products deserve to be more expensive. They are trying to balance quality with affordable & they need to just stay focused on quality. If they decide to truly market affordable it needs to be a split line just like how Dell has XPS line for higher quality experience. The differences between Pro line & standard line are not a good comparison as they share to many common parts to be considered all that different.

But hey, that's just my opinion.
post #6 of 134
I think it's about time something was done about display products and their descriptions in the entire marketplace, don't you?
post #7 of 134
Lawsuits FTW!
post #8 of 134
I think this suit is just another money grab by lawyers.

I don't think that anyone bought the system based on the Ad that it can display millions of colours. That should be the basis of defending the suit.

Again, another case of ever heard of the term Caveat Emptor?

-Endo
post #9 of 134
While the lawsuit is slipping itself in any way they can, EG by claiming these people bought based on the millions of colors claim, Apple is still completely wrong here for using 6-bit displays.
post #10 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This is one lawsuit I agree with. Anyone know how much more it would cost Apple to use a proper display?

I would like to know the price difference of the display too. Glad to see this lawsuit. I bet its not just Apple being hit by this type of thing... but I've seen a severe downgrade in quality of apple products as of the recent years. Apple used to strive on quality, now-a-days it feels like too much about wanting profits, ego, and "Fad".

I still have a Macintosh IIsi that runs PERFECTLY well. 1989 folks. Same with a 1993 Quadra840av, and 1996 Powerbook 3400c. My eMac from 2003 has died (and not of the capacitor issue that had recalls), and this is my third MBP (2006) and 2nd Battery, and even this MBP has issues that I know I'll have to fix in a few months (yay inverter board!).

Apple used to use good products and good companies for their computers... now, not so much. Find it cheaper, don't tell anyone, claim it as a feature. Poor business in my mind. Don't take a leaf out of M$'s book. (Or Dell either, where you have no clue who makes your Ethernet controller or RAM or other vital portion of your computer!)
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post #11 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by msantti View Post

Lawsuits FTW!

Literally. LOL. \

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post #12 of 134
The issue about the number of colours is a load of rubbish. Properly calibrated, the display will be just fine for the tasks they're talking about.

However the issue about the screen quality on the 20" iMac isn't - it isn't as good as the previous model. I don't blame Apple for cost reducing here, it would have been nice to have a display type option when you purchase, but the fact is the 20" iMac moved into the budget price slot, and gained the budget iMac's display type, albeit 3" bigger.

In addition, every PC with a 20" or 22" LCD will come with a TN panel. The okay Dell E226, which I have at work, for example.
post #13 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This is one lawsuit I agree with. Anyone know how much more it would cost Apple to use a proper display?

well.. not really. 16,777,216 colours - 262,144 colours = 16,515,072 colours. which is still in the millions, so its not really false advertising.

and.. maybe someone knows but how many colours can the human eye actually see? i remember in school the teachers saying after a certain point, the average human can't tell the difference.
post #14 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peruchito View Post

well.. not really. 16,777,216 colours - 262,144 colours = 16,515,072 colours. which is still in the millions, so its not really false advertising.

and.. maybe someone knows but how many colours can the human eye actually see? i remember in school the teachers saying after a certain point, the average human can't tell the difference.

The range depends on the person, but most people can distinguish over 10 million colors. To be more specific, most of us can see beyond what high quality 8-bit display can display, but not all at the same time.

Just as cameras adjust exposure depending on the shot, our eyes adjust to see different range of colors. Since displays are still stuck in 8-bit per channel color depth, most of us can see beyond their capability, and certainly way beyond inferior 6-bit TN LCD panels.

Regarding "16,777,216 colours - 262,144 colours", since 6-bit TN panels can display only 262,144 colors, what do you mean the number is still in the millions? How is 262,144 in the millions?
post #15 of 134
So they are sueing because they feel the 20" iMac doesn't look "stunning" enough?

I was working on a 20" aluminum imac not an hour ago, and it looks every bit as good as my 20" aluminum cinema display. Except for the endless glare, but thats a 'feature' I guess.
post #16 of 134
I was waiting (and waiting) for a new Cinema Display to come out. Yes, I was willing to pay more for it. But, now that Apple is a frikkin toy manufacturer with their dang iPods, I'm just giving DELL my money for a beautiful monitor. I have a MBP and can't edit pictures on the dang thing!!!
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post #17 of 134
I don't think every instance of an inferior quality product requires a lawsuit, nor does it require calling the offending company evil. No company I know of is completely perfect.

Yes, Apple customers would be better served if they had access to specific information about Apple products rather than having to choose based on limited and potentially misleading information. But that's what independent product reviews are for, yes?

Consumers who are armed with better information about these products can simply vote with their feet.

I'm not apologizing for Apple's behavior, but given what little I know about this situation, I think a lawsuit in this case is an overreaction.
post #18 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrChuck View Post

...given what little I know about this situation, I think a lawsuit in this case is an overreaction.

Thanks for sharing your uninformed opinion!

And welcome to A.I. -- there's always room for another person spouting off about something they know little about.
post #19 of 134
The bottom of the line iMac has always had a TN panel so I do not know why people is surprised that the 20" panel in the current iMac is TN.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post

I have a MBP and can't edit pictures on the dang thing!!!

Good luck finding a laptop with a 8-bit panel. You are gonna really need it.
post #20 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by l008com View Post

So they are sueing because they feel the 20" iMac doesn't look "stunning" enough?

I was working on a 20" aluminum imac not an hour ago, and it looks every bit as good as my 20" aluminum cinema display. Except for the endless glare, but thats a 'feature' I guess.

I find that very hard to believe. The 20" Cinema Displays use an S-IPS panel, while the iMac uses a TN. As someone who just went through monitor hell this week buying the latest and greatest 24" from Dell because it was $450 CAN less than the 23" Cinema Display, I can tell you first hand that there is no comparison. The S-IPS technology has vastly superior colour even on the oldest 20" aluminum Cinema Display. On the Dell, even the type was bugging my eyes out. Anyway, new 23 Cinema Displays are ordered. They're damn expensive, but a great value.
post #21 of 134
Wow. I'm glad I opted for the 24". I had no idea the 20" screen was inferior.
post #22 of 134
For everyone's reference, here is a fantastic resource I found this weekend. Unfortunately, iMacs aren't listed here.

http://axofiber.no-ip.org/inside/monitor.lcd.panels.htm
post #23 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peruchito View Post

well.. not really. 16,777,216 colours - 262,144 colours = 16,515,072 colours. which is still in the millions, so its not really false advertising.

You read that wrong. Not 262,144 less: 262,144 total. The article is ambiguously worded, though.
post #24 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peruchito View Post

well.. not really. 16,777,216 colours - 262,144 colours = 16,515,072 colours. which is still in the millions, so its not really false advertising.

You've got that backwards.

A 6-bit display means there are 18-bits of color depth per pixel (6 per component). This is 262,144 total combinations, not 262,144 fewer than an 8-bit display.

That being said, this lawsuit is insane. The Apple ad that's cited says that the new displays "look stunning", not "can display every possible color that the video card can send to the LCD panel". Whether or not you think the display is good enough for precision photo work, Apple's statement is hardly something you can sue them over.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peruchito View Post

maybe someone knows but how many colours can the human eye actually see? i remember in school the teachers saying after a certain point, the average human can't tell the difference.

A human eye definitely can't distinguish all colors in the full 24-bit space, but it is more sensitive to some components (blue, IIRC) than to others, so you may well be able to notice the difference between a 6-bit-per-channel display and an 8-bit-per-channel display.

Of course, as one columnist mentioned, professional editors often work with images that have more than 8 bits per channel. Photoshop supports up to 16 bits per channel. So these people are either using very expensive professional displays, or they are already settling for some amount of dithering with 8-bit displays. This makes the problem much less extreme than the plaintiffs would have you believe.
post #25 of 134
I'm usually one of the first to complain about frivolous lawsuits, but I think Apple definitely earned this lawsuit.
post #26 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by smack416 View Post

I find that very hard to believe. The 20" Cinema Displays use an S-IPS panel, while the iMac uses a TN. As someone who just went through monitor hell this week buying the latest and greatest 24" from Dell because it was $450 CAN less than the 23" Cinema Display, I can tell you first hand that there is no comparison. The S-IPS technology has vastly superior colour even on the oldest 20" aluminum Cinema Display. On the Dell, even the type was bugging my eyes out. Anyway, new 23 Cinema Displays are ordered. They're damn expensive, but a great value.

Believe it. Unless the original 20" aluminum's had a different LCD than the current one. Also note that both 20" imacs and my cinema have all been calibrated with a usb screen calibrator.
post #27 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by shamino View Post

That being said, this lawsuit is insane. The Apple ad that's cited says that the new displays "look stunning", not "can display every possible color that the video card can send to the LCD panel".

Actually, apple's website claims "millions of colors" for those monitors. While I think most of the suits against apple have been laughable, if apple is claiming millions of colors and not delivering, that sure sounds like legitimate grounds for a suit.

Really, would it be so hard for apple to either keep the quality of their monitors up or even just be honest in their claims?
post #28 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This is one lawsuit I agree with. Anyone know how much more it would cost Apple to use a proper display?

Define: Proper Display.
post #29 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by smack416 View Post

I find that very hard to believe. The 20" Cinema Displays use an S-IPS panel, while the iMac uses a TN. As someone who just went through monitor hell this week buying the latest and greatest 24" from Dell because it was $450 CAN less than the 23" Cinema Display, I can tell you first hand that there is no comparison. The S-IPS technology has vastly superior colour even on the oldest 20" aluminum Cinema Display. On the Dell, even the type was bugging my eyes out. Anyway, new 23 Cinema Displays are ordered. They're damn expensive, but a great value.

Dell's Ultrasharp line is supposed to be using the exact same panel technology as the Cinema Display. Apple's 23" is an oddball, but IIRC, the 20" and 30" displays both use the same model panel. If you bought an Ultrasharp, you should be able to calibrate it. They use a different gamma and they probably don't have any sort of calibration going on. The ACDs seem to be calibrated at the factory, which should be the main reason they look better. Once equally calibrated though, they've been shown to have the same image quality.
post #30 of 134
Wow the 24" imac can display 16,777,216 colors, but they 20" can only display 262,144?! That's ridiculous how many colors can the Macbook, MacBook pro 15", MacBook Pro 17", and all the cinima display show?
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post #31 of 134
I just love how the LCD Panel Industry has flooded the market with cheap TN displays and if you want a quality S-IPS or even MVA you are paying a hefty price to upgrade.

The standard monitor of today is the TN and they are simply POS.

By the way, the 24" iMac uses the H-IPS panel.

Hell I'd take an S-MVA but I'm not interested in the price tag for still not being S-IPS quality.

They are milking the LCD R&D like they did RAM.
post #32 of 134
6 bit + 2x2 dithering (half-toning) or 6 bit FRC or 6 bit + Hi-FRC should all do "millions" with some artifacting.

16.2M? That's bit of a marketing statistic for FRC but with 3 tones it's (256-3)^3=16.2M which is where that number comes from. I don't know how they officially count 2x2 dithering or even if all of Apple's TN panels use 2x2 dithering or some might do FRC or Hi-FRC.

Interestingly Hi-FRC claims 16.7M colors because of the way it does mapping of the lower bits. I think lower bits anyway. It's been a while since I read about it but it does mean even when you see that 16.7M number you may not be getting a 8-bit panel.

Not that it matters that much if it is a TN panel anyway. They ARE (typically) faster but the trade is generally with color repro. And, of course, S-IPS panels are a heck a lot more expensive.

So, do 6-bit panels do "millions of colors"? Yes, with spatial or temporal dithering. Many folks won't notice the difference without a higher quality panel next to it as a reference.

They sure as heck would with a 6-bit panel that only did 262K colors.

PS For the person with issue with Dell monitors, typically you want the UltraSharp models that I believe were largely S-IPS and way more expensive...or were when I was looking at it a while ago. YMMV today since panel usage varies from year to year or even within years. The 30" HC is pretty nice. The 24" is S-PVA though but 8-bit.
post #33 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Define: Proper Display.

Capable of millions of colours like the tech specs state.

Vinea states that 6-bit panels can produce millions of colours, but is this defined as millions from the panel or millions percieved through dithering. Is there industry defined terms that make the lawsuit viable? Does anyone else advertise in this way? I believe Apple settled on the other lawsuit.
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post #34 of 134
I think I will abstain from this "millions of colors" thread. I am still annoyed from last time.

I will say this though: When it comes to using technology indetectable by humans - be it microscopic engraving, super-fast framrates w/ temporal dithering, or what-have-you - we are at the mercy of manufactures to tell us the truth about what we're getting. If they tell us we're getting the best when in reality we're getting the worst, only a handful may notice... but we are being lied to regardless.

-Clive
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post #35 of 134
I dragged my sorry gluteus maximus into PC World a while back and they had the pre-aluminium 20' and 24' intel iMacs , the current 20' and 24' iMacs all lined up in a row, with the older versions all on sale. The differences between the 24' displays was very obvious to the naked eye. The older display looked really poor, the colours seemed very dull and the text in the menu bar had fuzzy edges. The new 24' looked fantastic but there was no way I was going to buy it even though I wanted it. The glossy screen just wasn't to my liking and I am very happy with my current 20' Imac PPC display.

Now with the new 20' iMac sitting next to the old 20' model I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Surely this is a mistake I thought. How can the new iMac display look worse than the old one? I messed around with the display settings and that didn't improve matters.

The iMac I have now the 20' PPC is the only Mac I have ever bought, costing me around £1300 in May 2005. I expect at that price for it to last me another 2-3 years before I consider buying another one. I guess if Apple never offer a non-glossy screen then it will have to last me until it says "So Long And Thanks For All The Fish"
post #36 of 134
"is a corporation that takes advantage of its customers"

Wow... Now there is a first! Considering the extreme customer loyalty and satisfaction of Apple, it might occur to this chap that other corporations just might be doing such unthinkable things to more extreme levels.
post #37 of 134
Serves them right for trying to penny-pinch on components.
post #38 of 134
Sarcasm:

While i agree that 20" inch display is a POS, available LCDs actually display very few colors.

For an 8-bit LCD display: 8 levels of red, 8 levels of green, and 8 levels of blue, and black(ish).

Which equals 25 colors for an eight-bit display! (19 colors for a six-bit display!) Our retinas/brains just perceive the combinations as millions of colors (if you're sitting back from the display!)

So all the computer / display manufacturers are lying!
post #39 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

The issue about the number of colours is a load of rubbish. Properly calibrated, the display will be just fine for the tasks they're talking about.

However the issue about the screen quality on the 20" iMac isn't - it isn't as good as the previous model. I don't blame Apple for cost reducing here, it would have been nice to have a display type option when you purchase, but the fact is the 20" iMac moved into the budget price slot, and gained the budget iMac's display type, albeit 3" bigger.

In addition, every PC with a 20" or 22" LCD will come with a TN panel. The okay Dell E226, which I have at work, for example.

I'm sorry but you are wrong. I am a bit pissed at this with Apple. I got some of these iMacs and put some of them in our Photography Department of our newspaper. We went through a complete colour calibration overhaul and brought in experts in the field. Guys who do this with newspapers for a living. Even with calibration the screens in both the 24 and 20 inch versions do not give true colour accuracy. It's true, when compared side by side with the "proper" Apple standalone displays there are differences.

If I had have known that this was the case with the iMacs I would not have bought them and simply got Mac Pro's and the accompanying quality displays. So care to give us the real world example where you claim this is rubbish?
post #40 of 134
Obviously a display is capable of really only showing some shade of the three colors red, green and blue. It's only through an optical effect that they appear as these other "millions" of colors.

This whole series of lawsuits is silly.
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