Apple IMac Display Problems
Over the last month, questionable upgrade pricing (Apple OSX Leopard: More Angry Customers), censorship (Mac OSX Cracked for PCs/More Update Woes (Is Apple Now Censoring Tom's Hardware?), and a bug-ridden operating system (Update: More Leopard Problems Plague Apple) have plagued Apple. While they represent problems for Apple, they are certainly surmountable for a mega corporation. But a new development may not be so easy to repair: Multiple sources indicate that at least some 20 and 24 inch iMacs sold since their debut August 7, 2007 may have shipped with defective displays.
The 20 and 24" iMacs, with the Mac OSX Tiger default desktop.
A Closer Look At The 20" Display Issue
Originally, there was some hope that the 20" issue may be dependant on the video card. Two video cards are available for the 20" iMac: ATI's 128 MB Radeon HD 2400 XT and 256 MB Radeon HD 2600 Pro. However, user reports have confirmed that the problem occurs regardless of the video card Compare Prices on Mac 20" Computers.
The problem shows as a change in the display of colors from the top to the bottom of the iMac screen. When looking at the display from a typical front viewing angle a solid colored background appears normal at the top of the screen and gradually changes color as your eye approaches the bottom of the screen. At the bottom of the display, the color appears faded or washed out. Medium blue becomes light blue, and light colors become white.
A You Tube video, posted by a Mac owner whose retailer refuses to accept a return of his iMac, illustrates the problem: (iMac screen washed out). Note that the issue is inherent to the display; it occurs regardless of whether you are using the Tiger or Leopard operating system. For that matter, you could be running Windows or Linux on the iMac, and the malfunction would still be there.
Although this type of problem may not be serious to someone who uses their Mac for sending emails and browsing the Web, it is likely to be a serious issue to anyone who uses their Mac for such tasks as photo editing or graphic design. And keep in mind that the Mac is marketed primarily as a multimedia platform. As someone who spends a great deal of time using his computer for multimedia work, I would find a display in this condition unusable.
You may wonder why users don't notice the problem before buying their iMacs. First, many iMacs are purchased from the Apple website. However, even when looking at an iMac display in a retail store, the issue is not immediately obvious, because iMacs are displayed with colorful desktop graphics. Until you become suspicious that something isn't right and confirm it by using a solid colored desktop, you won't notice that there's anything wrong. And that usually doesn't happen until your iMac is at home or in your office.
Both OSX Tiger (previous image) and OSX Leopard (above) have default desktops that make the screen defect hard to detect. Bright retail store lighting may further complicate in-store detection.