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Apple flat panels face competition

Peripherals maker Formac is looking to take on Apple Computer in selling flat-panel monitors to Mac users.

Peripherals maker Formac is looking to take on Apple Computer in selling flat-panel monitors to Mac users.

The Berlin-based company has unveiled the Gallery 1740 flat-panel monitor for G4 Power Macs and Apple's discontinued Cube. The liquid-crystal display (LCD) monitor goes on sale the first week of November. The Gallery 1740 competes directly with Apple's 17-inch Studio Display.

At $899 and 17.4 inches, Formac is looking to trump Apple's $999 17-inch LCD monitor. Like the Apple Studio Display, the Gallery 1740 is accented with clear plastic, to match standard and QuickSilver Power Mac G4 computers.

"Is Apple going to respond by reducing the price, I wonder, or does Apple not perceive it as much of a threat?" Technology Business Research analyst Tim Deal said. "Apple tends to safeguard its margins."

Since introducing the proprietary Apple Display Connector (ADC) on its LCD monitors and computers in summer 2000, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has had a virtual lock on digital flat-panel Mac sales. While Macs also come with an analog connector, digital connectors are better at delivering crisper, flicker-free images.

Non-Apple displays and computers typically rely on a more commonly used flat-panel connector technology: digital video interface (DVI). ADC's advantage is that it offers USB, power and display connection from a single cable, eliminating the cord clutter typically associated with hooking a monitor to a computer.

Over the summer, Apple stopped selling cathode-ray tube monitors, moving to three ADC flat-panel displays: 15 inch, 17 inch and 22 inch. Apple's flat-panel monitors are considered some of the most attractive and highest quality digital LCD monitors, Deal said.