So I was just informed that my MacBook probably doesn't have millions of colors. I know, shocking. What amuses me is that the guy repeatedly admits to not being able to tell the difference with his eyes, he tries to confirm with Apple over the phone instead, and fails to get a real answer.
There are two messages here:
- Apple sucks
- Millions of colors matter
I agree with the first point. Apple is evil and it's getting worse.
The second point is bullshit. He justifies it by saying that as a designer color is important to him. However, the whole post implies that he is not actually able to see the difference, which is why he is calling Apple.
If he can tell the difference why does he need to call/write/confirm? If it makes his design work suffer, can't he tell the difference while he's working?
Furthermore, the people for whom he is designing things probably can't see the difference either, they don't buy first class displays and they they are not professional designers.
I find this lack of perspective a little sad.
jrockway conjectured that this is because bit depth is a measurable spec that you can compare, like LCD refresh rates. People pay lots of money for 1ms refresh rates (1000 FPS), whereas displays with 5ms refresh rates (200 FPS) are cheaper. I don't think either of these solves the wagon wheel effect, there is still aliasing happenning, and anything over 30 frames per second is smooth enough for non pathological cases). And yet people still pay good money for this. Even when their video card has a maximal refresh rate of 120 Hz.
Compare this with a much more meaningful value like the dynamic range of a display (how deep the black is and how bright the white is) matters a lot more. We don't really have a measurement system for that.
What we have is vendor made up values like the contrast ratio, which you can "improve" by jacking up the output of the backlight, while giving your display shitty looking blacks. I bet my MacBook's display really sucks in terms of dynamic range, but guess what, I can't tell. This is despite the fact that top of the line scanners give slightly over 4 f-stop equivalents of range, whereas the human eye can see about 60.
Even though most people will easily be able to tell the difference between a display with a high dynamic range and one without, things like dust, glare and ambient light make a much bigger difference. Blended HDR images give the same dramatic effect while faking dynamic range, and we're able to enjoy them just fine in non optimal conditions. Is it really worth all that extra money?
IMHO there are much better reasons to hate Apple, like the iPhone jail and the awful app store policies, supporting DRM, backwards incompatible changes (10.5's language switching is still driving me nuts after all these months). As a long time Mac user (since 3rd grade), for the last 10 years I've been feeling more and more like I'm being shafted by apple, to the point where I know I want to switch (probably to Ubuntu), but I'm just too lazy at the moment.
I agree that their policy of treating their customers like children is annoying and negative, but we have bigger fish to fry.
So lastly, If you agree and you're a programmer, please keep this in mind the next time you are benchmarking or optimizing your code, decide whether it makes an actual difference, or whether the numbers just look better on paper =)