There are three things you can never have enough of — money, time, and screen real estate. Getting more of the latter used to mean giving up space on your desktop. Not anymore — earlier this year Apple produced the Apple Cinema Display, one of the most lusted-after products ever to come out of Cupertino, California. The 22-inch, wide-aspect-ratio digital flat panel was a breakthrough, offering a native resolution of 1,600 by 1,024 pixels, full support for HDTV resolution, ultrasharp focus all the way to the edges, and gorgeous industrial design.
For most Mac users, it was love at first sight — unrequited love, because the displays were in short supply. With the release of the G4 Cube and multiprocessor Power Macs, Apple updated the $3,999 Cinema Display to support the new Apple Display Connector (ADC) and added one more feature: availability.
The crispness and color saturation of the Cinema Display’s all-digital screen are unparalleled, and with HDTV-level source video, the resolution is so sharp it’s almost three-dimensional. The display also offers a generous amount of working space. The wide-screen aspect ratio not only better accommodates letterboxed movies, but also lets you run two screen-hogging applications side-by-side. As with any flat panel, however, you can’t easily calibrate the color; for print professionals who need precise color control, the Cinema Display is probably not a good choice.
The Cinema Display offers only two kinds of connections — two powered USB ports and the ADC. Because there’s no separate power supply or even an alternative to the ADC for getting video into the display, you must have one of Apple’s new G4 machines (either a Cube or a tower) to run the Cinema Display. Older Power Mac G4s that have digital video out but not an ADC connector won’t work with this display — an unfortunate limitation in what is otherwise a ground-breaking product.
And speaking of breaking ground, I can’t emphasize enough the incredible thinness of the display. It only takes up 12.2 inches behind it with the stand fully extended, or 8.3 inches with the stand retracted. Compare that with a CRT-based 21-inch display that can be a couple of feet deep. If you’re looking for more screen to work on but your office space is limited, and if you have a new G4 and money is no object, the Cinema Display was made for you.