What Apple's Nano-Texture is, and what it brings to Apple's new 27-inch iMac

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2020
Apple's biggest change for the new 27-inch iMac is the option to add the company's highest-quality anti-reflective technology, previously only seen on the $5,999 Pro Display XDR. Here's what it provides to the user, and why you may want to pony up the extra cash for it.

The new 27-inch iMac optionally includes Apple's highest-quality anti-reflective technology
The new 27-inch iMac optionally includes Apple's highest-quality anti-reflective technology


While the new 27-inch iMac does not feature the much-awaited redesign, and it does feature chiefly minor specification improvements, it's also got one big extra. Previously, to get Apple's high-quality nano-texture glass on a Mac display you had to pay $5,999 for the top-range Pro Display XDR.

Now you just have to pay from $2,299 -- and you get a 27-inch iMac thrown in for the price. The base 27-inch iMac costs $1,799, so this nano-texture technology adds $500 to the purchase price. However, it used to cost $1,000 on top of the base $4,999 Pro Display XDR, so the technology has come down in price considerably.

What you get for your money, whether in the new 27-inch iMac's screen or the Pro Display XDR's 6K one, is reportedly far better anti-reflective glass.

"The cover glass has our industry leading anti reflective coating," said Colleen Novielli, Apple's Worldwide Senior Product & Marketing Manager, when introducing the $4,999 version of the Pro Display XDR. "But for challenging lighting conditions. We have created an innovative matte option."

She was speaking at the launch of both the Pro Display XDR and the Mac Pro in 2019, and she had just been praising the new display's color accuracy and viewing angle. Then she showed how Apple tackled the issue of reflective glare on the screen, compared to other manufacturers.

"Most map displays, they add a coating to the glass, and this coating it scatters the light," she explained, "but it also adds unwanted haze and sparkle and it lowers the contrast."

"So instead, we precisely etch the glass itself," she continued, "for a nano-texture surface, and this maintains image quality and contrast, along with low reflectivity."

Rather than diffusing reflections on the glass or perhaps trying to compensate for them with greater brightness, Apple cuts fine lines into the display. This means the monitor does not present a single plane for ambient light to bounce back from.

Illustration of now light is reflected off a screen with a nano-texture display (Source: Apple)
Illustration of now light is reflected off a screen with a nano-texture display (Source: Apple)


Unless Apple has altered the technology since its unveiling, though, it also means that there is one potentially costly difference to this type of screen. Apple has strenuously warned against cleaning it with anything but the special cloth it provides in the box.

That's a "dry polishing cloth" and should be used "to wipe dust or smudges off the screen," according to Apple. Presumably Apple will include this with the new iMac, but as yet it hasn't confirmed.

Even after the Pro Display XDR has been officially available since December 10, 2019, it also hasn't really been confirmed yet just how much of a difference the nano-texture technology makes. That's partly because at this price, far fewer Pro Display XDRs will ever be sold than most monitors.

However, it's also because people whose work requires Pro Display XDR monitors won't typically have regular screens to compare it with. That's the real difference here, that Apple is bringing this technology to more people.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    A person would have to reeeeeaaaaly want that anti-reflective screen for $500 extra, but it’s a free country and options are good.
    entropys
  • Reply 2 of 13
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    "previously only seen on the $5,999 Pro Display XDR."

    If Apple can lower component costs and get the XDR display on Apple Silicon Macs, we are in FU**ING BUSINESS!!!


    A person would have to reeeeeaaaaly want that anti-reflective screen for $500 extra, but it’s a free country and options are good.

    Don't underestimate the perfectionism of professionals. I work with some and they'll spend $3K if it makes a 1% difference. In the end it's competition.
    watto_cobraiqatedo
  • Reply 3 of 13
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 550member
    I was able to experience and compare this to a standard Pro screen when I looked at the Mac Pro.   It does provide for a very non-reflective, yet super bright screen.

    The cleaning regime is quite strict and I'm not sure how well this would hold up over a 5+ year lifespan of fingerprints and dust.   I suppose if this becomes a "thing" someone will invent an ultrasonic cleaner to provide long life.   I use a Japanese ultrasonic wand for cloths washing that is simply amazing on stains, but for some reason they are not available for purchase in the US.

    However if your work required a top pro rated monitor I would opt for this option.
    caladanianjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,016member
    I'm definitely buying this new iMac this year.  It's pretty much everything I was looking for.  It will most likely be my last Intel-based iMac and by the time I'm ready to buy the next model years down the road, the ARM-based Macs will have evolved and settled-in to a polished product.  

    I'd consider this nano-texture option as I do tons of professional photography.  I'm just not sure since there are few reviews of the nano texture and I want to make sure that $500 actually provides value.

    A solid machine.  The continued design is a non-issue for me.  If there's anything I hoped for was a 30"+ design.  I'll be that Apple is saving a larger screen for the ARM-iMacs.
    caladaniandavebarnesjony0watto_cobraiqatedo
  • Reply 5 of 13
    I wonder if two of these can be ganged together in a dual screen setup. With a high end display like this, a dual headed setup will be a must for some users. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,213member
    paraeeker said:
    I wonder if two of these can be ganged together in a dual screen setup. With a high end display like this, a dual headed setup will be a must for some users. 
    Not unless Target Display Mode has returned?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 13
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,566administrator
    paraeeker said:
    I wonder if two of these can be ganged together in a dual screen setup. With a high end display like this, a dual headed setup will be a must for some users. 
    Not unless Target Display Mode has returned?
    We don't believe that this is possible with Thunderbolt 3, but we'll see. Seems unlikely, and there's no sign of it on the tech specs or updated support documents.
    fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    ITGUYINSDITGUYINSD Posts: 446member
    Sounds like tons of fun cleaning the screen ONLY with the "special" Apple cleaning cloth!  Wonder how much Apple charges for replacement cleaning cloths?  
  • Reply 9 of 13
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    ITGUYINSD said:
    Sounds like tons of fun cleaning the screen ONLY with the "special" Apple cleaning cloth!  Wonder how much Apple charges for replacement cleaning cloths?  
    You only get one cloth. Want another? Buy another iMac.  B)
    davebarnes
  • Reply 10 of 13
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,097member
    A person would have to reeeeeaaaaly want that anti-reflective screen for $500 extra, but it’s a free country and options are good.
    If you do video or graphics production work in a room with lots of fluorescent lights or a window behind you, then this is more of a necessity than a "want."   If you don't, then you're just pissing money away regardless of how much you want it. 
    edited August 2020 fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 13
    jony0jony0 Posts: 368member
    sflocal said:
    I'm definitely buying this new iMac this year.  It's pretty much everything I was looking for.  It will most likely be my last Intel-based iMac and by the time I'm ready to buy the next model years down the road, the ARM-based Macs will have evolved and settled-in to a polished product.  

    I'd consider this nano-texture option as I do tons of professional photography.  I'm just not sure since there are few reviews of the nano texture and I want to make sure that $500 actually provides value.

    A solid machine.  The continued design is a non-issue for me.  If there's anything I hoped for was a 30"+ design.  I'll be that Apple is saving a larger screen for the ARM-iMacs.
    I'm definitely buying this one now. I've been waiting 2 years for a redesign since my 2009 27" died and I'm very excited about ASi but I've just had enough of the 4GB 21” inch 2009 beach balling while switching between just a few standard opened apps or a more exotic menu selection. This new 27" does bring the stuff that was missing for me to make the jump : the T2 processor, TB3, True-Tone display plus a bonus Nano-Texture option. It should hold its value well as a classic, the last Intel iMac that could stay in demand for the occasional Windows users.
    I also suspect now more than ever that a 27” iMac might be low priority in the ASi conversion schedule. 
    I'll definitely still keep an eye on the ASi iMacs but from a more serene place.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 13
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,213member
    ITGUYINSD said:
    Sounds like tons of fun cleaning the screen ONLY with the "special" Apple cleaning cloth!  Wonder how much Apple charges for replacement cleaning cloths?  
    Sounds more fun than reflections on the screen to me. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 13
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,976member
    ITGUYINSD said:
    Sounds like tons of fun cleaning the screen ONLY with the "special" Apple cleaning cloth!  Wonder how much Apple charges for replacement cleaning cloths?  
    You only get one cloth. Want another? Buy another iMac.  B)
    Is a new Mac special cleaning cloth or can I use the dozen or so I still have spare from an office full of several generation iMacs?


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