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Some PowerBook customers unhappy with new screen

Debate rages on Apple's online forums about whether the Mac maker should replace the displays, which show horizontal lines.

Ina Fried Former Staff writer, CNET News
During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Ina Fried
2 min read
Some Apple Computer users are complaining that although the new 15-inch PowerBook packs in more pixels, the screen also displays unwanted horizontal lines.

Debate has raged for some time on Apple's online forums, with differing opinions as to how severe the issue is and whether Apple should be responsible for replacing the displays.

"The old display is crisp and solid," wrote user Jason Hilton, in one posting. "The new display has very noticeable black horizontal lines between each row of pixels. It's quite frustrating as a graphic designer."

Apple said in a statement that "if a customer has any technical issues, they should contact AppleCare," but declined to comment further.

The Mac maker introduced the higher-resolution screen PowerBooks on Oct. 19, the same day it unveiled new PowerMacs and its Aperture photo-editing software. Both the 15-inch and 17-inch models were updated with new, higher-resolution screens. However, complaints have centered on the 15-inch model.

To help identify the issue, one Mac user has posted an image file on his Web site.

Some have suggested that turning the contrast to its lowest setting helps the issue, while others maintain it is not a big deal. But others say they expect more from a $2,000 laptop.

The debate is reminiscent of another screen quality issue--the battle over dead pixels. On any given LCD (liquid-crystal display) screen, sometimes pixels are either always on (bright) or never light up (dark). Manufacturers have different policies, with some setting specific pixel limits, others using a more complex formula, and still others taking things on a case-by-case basis.

Apple has a posted an article on the issue that says that some "pixel anomalies" are to be expected. However, the article doesn't make clear what amounts to an unacceptable amount of defects.