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Apple sued for iMac display "deception"

updated 03:05 pm EDT, Mon March 31, 2008

iMac display suit

Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP, a law firm out of Los Angeles, California, has filed suit against Apple on behalf of a class of users claiming that the computer maker "deceptively marketed" the 20-inch iMac by purporting improved display performance, though the device's monitor is allegedly of "inferior" quality. The suit claims that the monitors are incapable of displaying "millions of colors," despite Apple's marketing claims. "Apple is duping its customers into thinking they're buying 'new and improved' when in fact they're getting stuck with 'new and inferior,'""said Brian Kabateck, Managing Partner of Kabateck Brown Kellner.  "Beneath Apple's '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."

The "millions of colors" claim stems from the assertion that while 24-inch iMacs display 16,777,216 colors on 8-bit, in-plane switching (IPS) screens, as did the previous generation of 20-inch iMacs, the new 20-inch iMac monitors display 98 percent fewer colors (262,144).

The suit also alleges that the screens used in 24-inch and 20-inch iMacs respectively are of radically different technology. "The 20-inch iMacs feature 6-bit twisted nematic film (TN) LCD screens, the least expensive of its type.
The 20-inch iMac's TN screens have a narrower viewing angle, less color depth, less color accuracy and are more susceptible to washout across the screen," a statement issued by Kabateck Brown Kellner suggests.

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

Apple recently agreed to an out-of-court settlement in a long-running lawsuit over the MacBook and MacBook Pro. Two California photographers, Fred Greaves and Dave Gatley, filed the class action suit in May of last year, over Apple's claim that the Pro could display "millions of colors." According to the filing, the reality is that Apple fakes the notebooks' color range through software dithering, and yet offers the extended color option in a Mac OS X drop-down menu, without any mention of software emulation.

by MacNN Staff



  1. 64stang06

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Oh no, I can't view a million colors!

  1. njfuzzy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I wonder

    This may affect me. I recently went from a PowerMac (G5 Dual 2.5) with a 20" Cinema Display, to a 20" iMac (Core 2 Duo). I am a photographer and do my own digital post-processing. I would not want to find out I took a step backwards in terms of the quality of my monitor.

  1. pixelcruncher

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hope this isn't true

    I count on Apple products being "best in class".

  1. ViktorCode

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I have doubts

    about those displays being 6-bit. The suit Apple settled out of the court was filled by the users who were experiencing problems with banding on their laptops. The banding was a result of 6-bit display installed there. Banding could be clearly seen even given the fact Apple masked it with software dithering. I don't remember anyone mentioned banding on his 20'', though I read a lot on other display issues of aluminium iMacs.

  1. mgpalma

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Our Goal

    "Our goal is to help those customers who were deceived and make sure Apple tells the truth in the future."

    More likely, to make millions in legal fees...The case may have merit, but I am sick of lawyers and politicians giving humanitarian airs while really only doing it for the buck or for power.

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: our goal

    ...I concur - the public complaint rate against lawyers where I live if true is appalling - perhaps the fox is minding the hen house so to speak...

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Going from a 20 cinema display to an iMac? errr.. yes, you did take a big step backwards!!

    As a photographer, you should do your research. CRT displays are the best for color proofing. PERIOD! while flat screens are getting better and there are some high end monitors that will do the trick for color proofing, nothing beats a CRT for color representation.

    And if you thought a $600 monitor is built in to a $1200 computer.. well, shame on u! :)

  1. emark

    Joined: Dec 1969


    darn right

    Apple deserves to have the a$$ handed to them on this one if there marketing materials only mentioned/spec'd the quality of the screen in the higher iMac.

    Certainly, even if they mentioned it, few would've balked at the difference for the price savings...but it can't be a suprise, (albeit a distantly possible but unlikely oversight) if it required the additional engineering to compensate for them.

    tsk tsk.

  1. dom2cool

    Joined: Dec 1969



    must be funded by micro$oft

  1. tindrum

    Joined: Dec 1969


    if true

    I'd be kinda angry too. 8 bits per color is very different than 4 bits per color. If it doesn't go that high, don't say it does. Not sure about lawsuits, but when I get an Intel Mac, these things will be factors in what model I choose. Sure, it doesn't hurt a playthrough of Myst or Myth, but it's important if you do that kinda PShop work. Really, why blame the messenger for pointing out that vid. isn't as good as it can or should be.

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