Monday, January 3, 2022

External Retina Display Rumors for 2022

Parker Ortolani:

Rumors have started to pick up about a new more affordable Apple display that could come this year. Just this morning, Mark Gurman at Bloomberg reported that the company is indeed planning to release a display in 2022 that’s half the price of the Pro Display XDR. But the Pro Display XDR is $6,000-$7,000 leaving this rumored display to be around $3,500 still. This product isn’t what most of us are looking for. It’s not even out yet and most customers in the market for an Apple display have been priced out.

Tim Hardwick:

In related rumors, Twitter-based leaker @dylandkt last month claimed LG is developing three new standalone displays that may end up being for Apple, including one based on the current 24-inch iMac, one based on the upcoming 27-inch iMac, and a 32-inch model that may be a new Pro Display XDR with an Apple silicon chip.

I would rather see something based on the 2021 27-inch iMac display. The new iMac will probably be mini-LED. For many uses, that’s not worth the expense, and in some viewing conditions it actually looks worse due to blooming.

Adam Chandler:

I knew this was an issue going into both my iPad Pro and MacBook Pro purchases but in that same MacRumors article, it was mentioned that the blooming has been mostly fixed in these MacBook Pros. I can say it has not. More technically speaking, “16-inch offers 10,216 miniLEDs across 2,554 local dimming zones.” and the iPad Pro 13″ has, “10,000 mini LED grouped into four so 2,500 local dimming zones.” so the two are very close so I can’t see how anyone would think the issue would just go away.

Everyone knows Mini LED has this issue. Products from all companies have blooming complaints online but I think my issue here is that Apple went all-in on this technology from the $1300 iPad Pro up to the $4900 Pro Display XDR. MiniLED is something Apple is heavily invested in despite these short comings. How I fix it is to turn off ‘true black on apps like Reeder or various writing apps like ByWord. With true-black turned off, the issue is better. I can also turn on a light in my room and turn down the display which helps.


Update (2022-01-05): Benjamin Mayo:

However, all display technologies have tradeoffs, and the mini-LED design seen in the MacBook Pro is no different. Blooming is often discussed as a downside of mini-LED but funnily enough, I don’t see it crop up too much in how I use my computer. It’s there if you seek it out, but you really have to hunt.

As shown in the video above, a persistent niggle for me is the vignetting effect around the edges of the display. The extreme edge of the screen is just slightly darker all the way around, and it sticks out when the rest of the screen is uniformly bright.


OLEDs don’t exhibit the edge vignetting and have no blooming because each pixel is individually lit, but they bring their own issues like burn-in and jelly scrolling to contend with.

7 Comments RSS · Twitter

It seems like recent MBP have been getting pretty close to perfection, but then there are still nagging issues like this miniLED problem, oversized trackpad, and no matte option for the display.

I'd be more interested in seeing a 35" Ultra-wide display with Retina resolution.

If my M1 Air holds out for as long as I hope, my next Mac's display may be OLED. A boy can dream!

From that blogpost:
“I’ve always ran all of my displays (yes even the iPad and MacBook Pro) at peak brightness. My 32″ Dell Display is also at peak brightness….it’s just how I roll.”

This absolutely exacerbates the blooming. Personally I find anything beyond 50% brightness on my 14” uncomfortable to look at, and at half brightness the bloom is less perceptible, but it’s still not perfect.

“I don’t dare go down the rabbit hole to determine if there’s a technology out there that doesn’t have this issue…”

It’s OLED. Every non-emissive display has to contend with the backlight to some degree, although perhaps a mini-LED display with, say, 500,000 to 1,000,000 dimming zones might be close enough. Who knows if that will ever be commercially viable.

“…but I can say my LED backlight LCD display from Dell doesn’t have this problem.”

It’s not that LED backlit LCDs (commonly termed “edgelit”) don’t have the problem… it’s just that the entire display area is glowing all the time. I think this is way worse than blooming in high contrast areas, but I guess that’s down to taste.

@Ghost I think I’d rather see an even glow over the entire display than have it in patches.

LCD monitors were inferior to CRT displays in several ways, especially at the turn of the century, yet the industry largely migrated to them because the benefits outweighed the cons. The benefits of MiniLEDs (for both HDR and SDR content) outweigh the cons of a slight edge glow in extreme contrast. When you have it next to an IPS screen showing the same high-contrast content, the difference is stark. In SDR the edge glow is actually less noticeable than the IPS glow on my LG displays.

Now, if all you work on is a pure black screen with bright white text in a very dark room with the brightness cranked to max, it's a lot easier to notice. But my hunch is that most people don't, and in the vast majority of contrast scenarios, MiniLED is going to look better than a machine with IPS glow. At maximum SDR brightness, the bloom is very subtle in most lighting environments, and most people aren't at maximum brightness. HDR is usually motion, not static content, and most HDR videos aren't thin lines of pixels on a pure black background.

FWIW, the display already has some kind of bloom mitigation. Go into PS, make a document that's all black pixels, use the pencil tool, set the color to 255/255/255, and start painting single brush points of various pixel sizes. Anything smaller than a single zone that has a certain point contrast ratio won't kick the LED up to its maximum brightness, despite setting your screen to max brightness. It'll only ramp up to full brightness once there's enough white pixels to trigger a certain area of a zone.

At the end of the day, every display technology has drawbacks. IPS vs VA vs TN will reveal flaws in all three methodologies, and we're not even talking backlight issues. PWM LED backlights versus CCFL, OLED with its burn-in, CRTs with their geometry, blur, and glow... Pick your poison.

After two months of using the M1 Max machines, I want nothing more than a display like this for my Windows PC. It's actually the best part of the machine for me, more so than the processor or GPU (which are also great, but I have a 5950X with 3080TI to compare to). It's almost like having a CRT back in terms of contrast. I'll take it with a mild glow localized to extreme contrast over IPS glow on the entire screen any day.

TBH, the more noticeable problem in every day usage is the pixel response time. It's not terrible but it's not great, but then again I'm not playing FPS games on these machines.

>I think I’d rather see an even glow over the entire display than have it in patches.

I wonder if someone could patch this in software (probably not; controlling the lights is probably something in the display firmware?).

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