December 29, 1999 Apple is starting to deliver its unimaginably large 22-inch Cinema Display.
The largest LCD computer screen available at the time, Apple’s all-digital flat panel is far from the bulky cathode ray tube monitor of the popular iMac G3, which conquered the world last year. It’s also Apple’s first widescreen display – and the first to have a digital video interface.
Cinema Display: Apple’s best screen to date
“This is the screen we’ve all been dreaming about for 20 years,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s interim CEO, at the time. “Apple Cinema Display is without a doubt the largest, most advanced and most beautiful LCD screen ever offered.”
Aside from its size and shape, what was so dazzling about Apple’s $ 3,999 Cinema Display is its thinness and liveliness. Thinness is something we now associate with Apple design. It’s easy to take for granted after years of thinning iPhones, iPads and MacBooks.
However, when Cinema Display was delivered, Apple had not yet reached its obsession with anorexia computers. As a result, the existence of flat screen monitors seemed astounding.
Elsewhere, Apple continued to produce CRT monitors until 2006 – when it shipped its last CRT Mac – and average users didn’t get flat-screen LCDs until the 2002 iMac G4. For one with a screen that was close to Cinema Display -and, they had to wait until November 2003. Then Apple debuted with the 20-inch iMac G4, its largest flat panel, all-in-one computer to date. Even then, it couldn’t quite match the size of the 22-inch Cinema Display.
Apple Cinema Display specifications
In terms of vividness, the LCD colors on the screen popped up in a way they weren’t on CRTs. It had a 16: 9 aspect ratio and a screen resolution of 1600 × 1024. Goal? Appeal to top graphics professionals and creatives who have remained loyal (if frustrated) to Apple users over the past decade.
With that in mind, Apple designed the Cinema Display to work with the high-end Power Mac G4 line. That computer offered better graphics performance and other advanced features for advanced users. The goal of the exhibition on those in the creative industries is subtly brought to the fore through a design that includes a pedestal reminiscent of a painter’s easel.
The name of the Cinema Display also pointed to a direction that Apple has just begun to explore: the computer as an entertainment center.
That same year, Apple launched its movie announcement website, apple.com/trailers, which allows users to watch movie announcements in unrivaled quality anywhere else. It will be several more years before Apple starts allowing users to download movies through the iTunes Store. But Cinema Display has helped make this service attractive.
Cinema Display says goodbye
Apple continued to be excited about Cinema Display for the next decade. The displays got bigger and bigger, eventually reaching 30 inches. The company eventually discontinued the line in 2011, replacing it with the Thunderbolt Display, which it stopped producing in 2016.
However, that was not the end of Cupertino’s performance. Apple has launched the premium Pro Display XDR 2019. With a 32-inch Retina 6K screen and a price tag of $ 4,999, it is definitely intended for professionals. (The optional Pro Display XDR booth adds $ 999 to the price.) Although the Pro Display XDR has won awards, it remains out of the reach of average consumers. Apple reportedly plans to make smaller, more affordable alternative screens for typical users.
Yet, decades after its launch, the legacy of Cinema Display can still be seen by watching any iMac. Despite several redesigns – the last in April 2021 – the popular all-in-one computer has the same flat-panel widescreen design that Apple introduced in 1999.
Did you own an Apple Cinema Display? What is your favorite Apple monitor of all time? Leave your comments below.
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