We’re fortunate to have an Apple Store about five minutes away. Once I wiped up the tears from reading Apple’s email announcement that the G5 was delayed, I decided to do what any red-blooded Mac guy would do: go buy something.
The first thing I noticed after walking into the Apple Store was the size of the new displays; 20” Cinema and 23” Cinema HD. They actually look smaller than their predecessors. In fact, the 23” HD model is almost exactly the same size as the previous 20” model. True, the screen is larger, but the over all size and footprint is not.
The 20” non-HD Cinema model (not sure what the difference is) looks positively small when next to older Cinema displays and the new 23” HD model.
The difference in size is the case. The clear plastic case of the old model extended beyond the screen about two inches. The new model has a about an inch, maybe less. The overall design, of course, mirros that of the aluminum PowerBooks and matches well the new G5’s aluminum skin.
And, this surprised me and you’ll understand; I actually wanted to buy one right then, and the Apple Store had some in stock. When was the last time those both happened at the same time?
From the time I got the 23” Cinema HD home it was all typically Apple. The HD box is black trim, similar to the G5 box. Inside, it’s white styrofoam, and packed in Apple’s standard ‘fit and finish’ look.
Getting the display to the desk was easy; it actually felt lighter than the 20” model it’s replacing.
Also inside the box is the powercord, a small white ‘power brick’, and a manual. There’s not much to tell you about the instructions.
The white power brick has two connectors. One is to plug in the powercord, the other is a smaller connector for the display’s cable. The new displays are NOT ADC connectors; they’re DVI (a standard more popular in the Windows world). Frankly, that’s a shame. I like ADC. It doesn’t get any better than one cable for everything, but only Apple managed to figure that out.
Plug in and restart was simple, too. The cable extending from the HD display connects to the brick (for power) and to a USB port on the PowerMac and to a 400 mbps Firewire port. That gives the display both USB 2.0 and a Firewire connection. There’s never enough of those to go around these days, and Apple is probably more stingy than most, so the extra Firewire on the desktop is a good touch.
The aluminum case is “thicker” than I expected. You can’t tell from watching Steve Jobs’ QuickTime video at WWDC or from the graphics on the Apple Store online. The display appears to be about 1 1/2” thick with a white plastic end (both left and right) piece. The aluminum case wraps around the plastic.
Still, the 23” HD is very attractive and simple. The 20” is just like it. But smaller. And no HD.
And, it swivels up and down. It’s not an iMac, mind you. But it moves and that alone is a dramatic difference from the older plastic encased displays.
It won’t take long for someone to create a small, round, nearly flat “swivel” to fit under the stand so the displays will swivel left and right.
Set it up, plug it in, turn on the PowerMac. It just works.
How’s it look?
First, damned nice. Crystal clear. No messed up pixels (that I could find). The 23” HD display was notably brighter than the 20” plastic case Cinema display, so it was necessary to re-calibrate.
Still, even then it wasn’t quite what I wanted, so I calibrated again. That worked better and the display looked nearly, but not quite as sharp as the older 20”
I have an old 15” flat panel Cinema display that looks brighter than the 20” so maybe the size of the pixels has something to do with brightness. Still, this is so much better than a very expensive Sony 18” display sitting on a Windows box on the other side of the room.
Real estate. That’s what it’s all about, right? The 23” Cinema HD is all about more real estate. The 23” is 1900×1200 pixels, compared to the 1680×1050 of the previous 20” model. Extra real estate is something you can never have too much of; maybe 17” in a laptop is too much.
Brushed aluminum appears to be the “thing” Steve Jobs is into right now. We’ve got it with the AlBooks, iTunes, iMove, iDVD and friends. It’s there on the G5 PowerMac, and now on the entire display line.
I haven’t been able to figure out what the “HD” really means in Apple 23” Cinema HD display. DVD’s sure look good on this thing. The 23” and 30” models show specs that are brighter than the smaller 20” model. Pixel pitch is smallest on the 23”. In the Comments section, one reader says it has something to do with being able to display high quality HD TV signals. Hmmmm. What’s Apple missing here?
If Apple had a set top box or something like El Gato’s EyeTV, the 30” model would make a fabulous TV. The 23” would be too small to view across a room. On your desktop, it’s awesome. Freakin’ awesome.
Once the new dual 2.5 ghz G5 PowerMacs arrive (early in my next lifetime), I’ll do a review and show some pix of both the new display and the G5.