Glossy vs. Matte: is the Battle Over?

October 20, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Apple, Tech 

So, the battle seems to be over and the glossy coup d’état will be complete with the final inclusion of the 17″ MBP into the glossy-only family of Macs. The only remaining stragglers will be the aging (20, 23 & 30) Cinema Displays–excluding the new, glossy, 24″ LED Cinema Display that is exclusively for the new Mini DisplayPort equipped MB and MBPs of course. Apple looks like it has sacrificed a professional production necessity and caved to the subjective aesthetic that “glossy appeals to more people”. What happened to the simple Mac mantra, that “Macs were for people that actually got work done”? Or at least the distinction between common, everyday MacBooks and iMacs and MacBook PROS and Mac PROS. All Mac users are now being shoehorned into the whole touchy-feely, Windows-switching, mesmerized zombies that have been plugged into the Cupertino Reality Distortion Field™ to just drool over eye-candy and fork over our money (a lot of it). I’m afraid Apple might be losing a bit of the “PRO” distinction in their products by not offering a matte option on their “PRO” products. But there is some good news in it for me…

Just a few days ago I wrote an earlier post about my Wait for Obsolescence regarding Apple’s impending (at the time) announcement of new MacBooks and MacBook Pros. I knew it was inevitable that the machine I am currently typing on, would one day (all too soon I might add) be consigned to a growing pile of aging machines that once sat atop another heap with a much prouder, King of the Hill stance. The only thing I didn’t count on was that after Apple’s announcement last Tuesday, I found myself (or my MBP) still atop that hill as my current configuration matches the “refreshed” 17″. The situation is obviously tenuous, because Apple also announced that they were still planning on adding the same updates that graced the new 13″ and 15″ MacBook and MacBook Pro to the 17″. Then any remaining bragging rights will finally come to an end–with one exception: my MBP has a MATTE screen. We’ll see, but I believe that will allow my MBP to retain at least a bit of a premium for awhile as it will become harder and harder to get your hands on a matte screen MacBook Pro–specially with a 17″ HD screen.

I will grant that nine times out of ten, when you sit someone down, especially in a nice retail environment, and have them compare a glossy screen next to a matte screen, they will naturally gravitate to the rich blacks and saturated colors and declare the contest a no-brainer. Almost every time, glossy will win that contest hands-down. I know that. I myself like glossy screens better than matte for the pure pleasure of viewing photos and movies and all the iLife-goodness that make people want to put their old Dells and HPs out on the driveway for next week’s garage sale items (a week before the sale even starts) and enter into the Mac good life. But those people are not the ones who use their Macs to choose accurate colors for their print or video projects, nor work in environments with glare issues. We simply will have no choice other than to buy third-party monitors or keep our older Cinema Displays and MB and MBPs.

I’m ranting and raving, but this really isn’t quite a hill to die on, even for me, because as I pointed out above, those of us who need the matte option, will just go the third-party route, or hope that our existing matte-equipped rigs won’t look too out-of-date (like the original plexi Cinema Displays) next to the newer gear. And I know very well the human capacity to “just get used to these things”. But it was one of those things where I felt that I had to get my curmudgeon on and let loose if nothing other than to jack up the potential resale value of my MATTE MBP when and if the time finally comes to succumb to Teh Glossy. But for now, I am still enjoying the King of the Hill status while I can.

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