Suit against Apple claims false advertising on displays

Two Mac users claim that Apple misrepresented the amount of colors its laptops can display in a newly-filed class-action lawsuit against the computer maker.

Filed in Superior Court in San Diego, the lawsuit brought by Fred Greaves and Dave Gatley accuses Apple of falsely advertising the capabilities of its MacBook and MacBook Pro displays. Specifically, the suit alleges the notebooks are only capable of displaying the illusion of millions of colors through a technique known as dithering.

In dithering, nearby pixels use slightly varying shades or colors “that trick the human eye into perceiving the desired color even though it is not truly the color,” according to the lawsuit.

Besides their own difficulties with the notebooks, Greaves and Gatley point to several discussion threads on Apple’s own support forums where users complain about the quality of the displays. One user said that the color is way off after editing an image on his 17-inch MacBook Pro and then looking at the same image on his 23-inch Cinema Display.

The lawsuit also said that “Apple has taken it upon itself to edit many of the posts and has even gone to the lengths of ‘taking down’ entire threads devoted to the subject.”

Some users described the notebook’s display as being “ grainy ” while others complained it was “ sparkly.” The lawsuit alleges that users that contacted Apple directly regarding the display problems received little satisfaction.

“Many such dissatisfied purchasers were chastised by Apple agents and employees for being too picky about their assessments of the quality of the display,” the lawsuit says. “Other dissatisfied purchasers were told they were imagining the complained about defects.”

One disgruntled Apple customer created the web site colorblindmac.com as a clearinghouse of information about the issue, including suggestions on software and techniques MacBook users can use to verify the status of their own MacBook displays.

On its Web site Apple claims its MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks both have support for millions of colors. Apple makes no mention of using the dithering technique on either notebook.

The lawsuit charges Apple with false advertising, violation of the Unfair Competition law, and misrepresentation. The suit seeks an injunction against Apple from misrepresenting its products as well as compensatory and other damages.

Apple declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Subscribe to the MacWeek Newsletter

Comments