Apple settles "millions of colors" class-action lawsuit

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apple has settled with two professional photographers who had charged the company with falsely advertising the quality and capabilities of its MacBook and MacBook Pro notebook displays.



The out-of-court settlement, for which terms were not disclosed, brings to a close a 10-month old class-action lawsuit filed by San Diego, Calif. residents Fred Greaves and Dave Gatley.



In the suit, first reported by AppleInsider last May, the pair cried foul on the part of Apple's marketing lingo, which advertised that both the MacBook and MacBook Pro included displays capable of supporting "millions of colors" and offering views "simply unavailable on other portables."



Instead, they charge that the 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."



Greaves and Gatley, both professional photographers, argued that the misrepresentation was critical given that members of their profession rely on the accuracy of the displays for properly editing imagery. They asserted that, even at their highest resolutions, the notebook displays are unreliable for post-production purposes.



In addition to false advertising and misrepresentation, the photographers also charged Apple with violating the Unfair Competition Law and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act for its failure to properly address and rectify the situation.



There's no word yet on the steps necessary for other proposed class members to take advantage of the settlement.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 121
    johnnykrzjohnnykrz Posts: 152member
    Good for them. I think this is one case Apple deserved to lose. Especially in the MacBook Pro, I would expect better quality displays. It almost seems like this should have been cause for class action since they deceived everyone who bought one.
  • Reply 2 of 121
    cubertcubert Posts: 728member
    From what I have read, Apple's claims seem to be industry standard. This is kind of like the issue with 1GB of disc storage really being 1000 MB and not 1024MB.



    Apparently, Apple makes claims on the "millions of colors" exactly the same way other laptop manufacturers do.
  • Reply 3 of 121
    hattighattig Posts: 830member
    Clearly a case where there was no financial benefit to continuing with the case, even though Apple were clearly not in the wrong.



    If you want to see a bad laptop screen, look at Dell's offerings. My work Dell D820's screen is terrible, far far worse than my iBook's screen which is two years older yet somehow (temporally?) dithers the screen correctly.



    Remember that all colour LCD screens can only show three colours - Red, Green and Blue!



    Sure, each can be shown at different brightnesses (typically 64 levels of brightness on a TN display) and the colours are arranged to get 64*64*64 spatially dithered colours, which is extended by further spatial and temporal dithering in a way that the human eye cannot detect (although it can be done incorrectly or badly or left out).



    Temporal dithering is easiest - you can get 13/128ths by simply temporally dithering 6/64ths and 7/64ths brightness, for over 2 million colours on screen. You can also show the first 1/4 of the time, and the latter 3/4 of the time to get 27/256ths, allowing you over 16 million colours. There are advanced algorithms to randomise the temporal and spatial dithering so the eye doesn't pick up patterns as well. Clearly these are broken on the Dell D820 Maybe they were broken on the MacBook as well? Maybe it was a software issue in the driver...
  • Reply 4 of 121
    I think this would mean that every manufacturer of TN-Panel TFT-displays would have to include a disclaimer about what they think millions of colors would be.
  • Reply 5 of 121
    I think Apple should stick out their neck and address this. Given the number of creative professionals who use Apple hardware and the professional appeal of the MacBook Pro, they should say something about this limitation. I would like to know if OEMs are working on true 8-bit-per-color displays in the space that would feed notebooks.
  • Reply 6 of 121
    akanbeakanbe Posts: 15member
    Doesn't this also affect iMacs as well? I have a 20" and I know I've seen "millions of colors" under color options in the system preferences as well.
  • Reply 7 of 121
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    Maybe these two pricks should have researched things a bit better.



    They are "professionals".
  • Reply 8 of 121
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Akanbe View Post


    Doesn't this also affect iMacs as well? I have a 20" and I know I've seen "millions of colors" under color options in the system preferences as well.





    The current 20" model does use a dithering panel type, but the control panel isn't the same. I have a true 8 bit per channel disply and it says the same thing.
  • Reply 9 of 121
    jasenj1jasenj1 Posts: 909member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cubert View Post


    From what I have read, Apple's claims seem to be industry standard. This is kind of like the issue with 1GB of disc storage really being 1000 MB and not 1024MB.



    Apparently, Apple makes claims on the "millions of colors" exactly the same way other laptop manufacturers do.



    And because everybody lies Apple should get away with it, too?



    This is exactly the sort of thing that needs to be done to keep manufacturers honest.



    - Jasen.
  • Reply 10 of 121
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cubert View Post


    From what I have read, Apple's claims seem to be industry standard. This is kind of like the issue with 1GB of disc storage really being 1000 MB and not 1024MB.



    Apparently, Apple makes claims on the "millions of colors" exactly the same way other laptop manufacturers do.



    So much for the "Think Different" mantra then. They can say they're better than everyone else, but then selectively default to industry standard shenanigans when it suits them.



    But I really don't see the GB thing being a problem, it's the computer that doesn't report that properly. The display makers/sellers make the distinction harder to understand than it needs to be, much like how the USB association allowed or made the full speed / high speed shenanigans.
  • Reply 11 of 121
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cubert View Post


    From what I have read, Apple's claims seem to be industry standard. This is kind of like the issue with 1GB of disc storage really being 1000 MB and not 1024MB.



    Apparently, Apple makes claims on the "millions of colors" exactly the same way other laptop manufacturers do.



    1GB = 1000MB.

    1GiB = 1024 MiB; 1MiB = 1024KiB; 1KiB = 1024 Bytes



    It's a naming scheme (scam), but it's legit. At least they print on HDD boxes that 1GB = 1000MB.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by msantti View Post


    Maybe these two pricks should have researched things a bit better.



    They are "professionals".



    Pardon? Those two pricks are, technically, correct. While the human eye interprets the display as showing millions of colors, the display isn't actually capable of showing millions of descrete colors. This causes a problem when a photograph on screen is printed in CMYK color.



    How would you like it if you had wedding pictures taken by these two "pricks," they looked great on screen, but when printed, the colors were all out of whack?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jasenj1 View Post


    And because everybody lies Apple should get away with it, too?



    This is exactly the sort of thing that needs to be done to keep manufacturers honest.



    Thank you. I applaud anyone who has the guts to stand up against Apple on such a web forum. Prepare to be chastized.



    Some people just don't understand that Apple isn't "the Way the Truth and the Light" for every single product it produces and service it offers. Yet there are so many blind followers...



    -Clive
  • Reply 12 of 121
    zandroszandros Posts: 537member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by msantti View Post


    Maybe these two pricks should have researched things a bit better.



    They are "professionals".



    So, pray tell, if we assume that I'm buying a new Apple laptop, how do I find out which panel it will use for its LCD?



    /Adrian
  • Reply 13 of 121
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post


    While the human eye interprets the display as showing millions of colors, the display isn't actually capable of showing millions of descrete colors.



    Actually my human eye clearly sees the awful dithering on these screens. I recently bought a MacBook and was stunned to see the banding and artifacts all over the place. This is not a minor issue. For people here to dismiss these two guys as "pricks" seems awfully fanboyish to me. And a rejection of reality.



    These screens are an embarrassment. Apple should be required to recall these laptops and/or amend their marketing materials and OS to reflect the truth.
  • Reply 14 of 121
    endoendo Posts: 2member
    What the heck??? Every "Professional" photographer knows that you will NEVER get true colour representation from a screen. Especially for $2000 a system.



    These two are just on a money grab. Every PC manufacturer advertises "millions of colour". Apple only did what is industry standard for displays.



    It is really sad when a legal system allows for these kinds of frivolous suits to even be considered. The term Caveat Emptor seems to have no meaning to some people.



    -Endo
  • Reply 15 of 121
    sapporobabysapporobaby Posts: 1,079member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post


    1GB = 1000MB.

    1GiB = 1024 MiB; 1MiB = 1024KiB; 1KiB = 1024 Bytes



    It's a naming scheme (scam), but it's legit. At least they print on HDD boxes that 1GB = 1000MB.







    Pardon? Those two pricks are, technically, correct. While the human eye interprets the display as showing millions of colors, the display isn't actually capable of showing millions of descrete colors. This causes a problem when a photograph on screen is printed in CMYK color.



    How would you like it if you had wedding pictures taken by these two "pricks," they looked great on screen, but when printed, the colors were all out of whack?







    Thank you. I applaud anyone who has the guts to stand up against Apple on such a web forum. Prepare to be chastized.



    Some people just don't understand that Apple isn't "the Way the Truth and the Light" for every single product it produces and service it offers. Yet there are so many blind followers...



    -Clive





    Great post Clive. Be careful though, the zealots will hammer you for having an independent thought and for finding fault with Apple. When "he who must not be named" speaks, they treat his every word as manna from heaven. Apple makes great products, hell outstanding products even but sometimes they make mistakes and lie to cover it up. To cast blame on two PROFESSIONALS that know better just feeds the Apple Fanboy mantra.



    @JeffDM. Good post as well.
  • Reply 16 of 121
    hattighattig Posts: 830member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post


    How would you like it if you had wedding pictures taken by these two "pricks," they looked great on screen, but when printed, the colors were all out of whack?



    But the problem isn't that they are displaying green when it is pink, etc. I'm sure these professionals had their displays calibrated correctly, and in that case the printing would look like what is on screen.

    Black is still black, white is white, there are 62 greys in-between. Is there any need in their work to show all 256 levels of grey (even ignoring temporal dithering) exactly? There isn't. Because it's irrelevant to the overall image they're working on.



    Now maybe if the screens had a very poor contrast ratio, there'd be an issue, or if the colour reproduction was low, like 40% NTSC gamut, there'd be an issue, and arguably it would be difficult to calibrate correctly in such a case. However in terms of photography, you're not caring about seeing 45/256ths and 46/256ths on screen. And that was the problem they had.



    I'd also hope that they wouldn't do all their work on their laptops, because as professionals I'd expect them to have an expensive display back in the office that they used to check things were correct right at the end.
  • Reply 17 of 121
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Endo View Post


    These two are just on a money grab. Every PC manufacturer advertises "millions of colour". Apple only did what is industry standard for displays.



    -Endo



    Thank you.



    This is what it is ULTIMATELY about.



    Welcome to LAWSUIT NATION.
  • Reply 18 of 121
    jimzipjimzip Posts: 444member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mr_cazorp View Post


    Actually my human eye clearly sees the awful dithering on these screens. I recently bought a MacBook and was stunned to see the banding and artifacts all over the place. This is not a minor issue. For people here to dismiss these two guys as "pricks" seems awfully fanboyish to me. And a rejection of reality.



    These screens are an embarrassment. Apple should be required to recall these laptops and/or amend their marketing materials and OS to reflect the truth.



    I think you may have received a defective macbook actually.. Those symptoms sound like something isn't as it should be, if you're actually seeing artifacts and banding I'd take it in to an Apple store. Maybe check that there isn't any kind of super magnet lying around near where you use your MB too.. Your house doesn't happen to be near the Swan Station does it?



    As for the lawsuit, I think it's a valid point. I think it's also unfortunate that the only way to make companies listen these days is by suing them.. I wonder how (if at all) Apple will rectify this. The MBPs are targeted towards these people. Professionals who need accurate colour representation. If that's not what they're getting then that's bad juju.



    Personally I've never had an issue with colour on my MBP, of course I'm no photographer and I can't tell how many colours I'm looking at..



    Jimzip
  • Reply 19 of 121
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Endo View Post


    What the heck??? Every "Professional" photographer knows that you will NEVER get true colour representation from a screen. Especially for $2000 a system.



    These two are just on a money grab. Every PC manufacturer advertises "millions of colour". Apple only did what is industry standard for displays.



    It is really sad when a legal system allows for these kinds of frivolous suits to even be considered. The term Caveat Emptor seems to have no meaning to some people.



    -Endo





    You waited almost two years to finally express your opinion. You should have been patient and waited a bit longer.



    The colors aren't the only thing dithered around here.
  • Reply 20 of 121
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Endo View Post


    Every PC manufacturer advertises "millions of colour". Apple only did what is industry standard for displays.



    So if all fast food joints sold you a beverage that they called "coffee," resembled the taste of coffee, but was actually concentrated monkey urine, you'd be okay with that?



    ...After all, only a bean connoisseur would actually know the difference...



    I'm sorry, but there's no excuse for indutry-wide lying. Just because everyone does it, doesn't make it right.



    -Clive
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