Californian innovator Apple surprises us every year with their smartphones, computers, laptops – and above all their prices. When the price of the new pro screen became public, many tech fans raised their eyebrows. We explain why the Apple Pro Display XDR is so expensive and whether it’s even worth it.
Same screen in iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max
At the Apple Special Event 2019 on September 10, Apple announced their new generation of smartphones: the entry-level iPhone 11 and the pro models iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. The new camera and screen are particularly interesting for the latter two smartphones. Apple calls it the Super Retina Display XDR – a comparable display to that of the Mac Pro screen – but smaller. A 5.8″ or 6.5″ OLED panel with 1000 Nits and 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio. By the way, you can also make phone calls with this super smartphone.
Why is the Apple Pro Display XDR so expensive?
However, the Pro Display XDR is much more than just really expensive. If we take a closer look at the Mac Pro screen, we’ll see that it’s a 32-inch 60 Hz IPS LCD display with 6016 x 3384 pixels. That’s a total of 20.4 million pixels and means 6K resolution. By the way, the XDR stands for Extreme Dynamic Range. The average brightness is 1000 Nits, while the maximum brightness is even 1600 Nits. The contrast is 1,000,000:1, making the most demanding HDR content possible.
The color space is similarly impressive: DCI-P3 with 10-bit color depth for over 1 billion colors. Last but not least, the viewing angle of 89° from all sides is super wide. In fact, the screen is calibrated in the factory itself. Based on this data, it becomes clear that the Pro Display is a screen that comes close to Sony reference monitors or similar products. Is that necessary? Not for the ordinary user. Such screens are not used for reading e-mails, but for video editing or photo editing of the highest quality.
Display technology explained
The screen has an IPS LCD panel with full array local dimming. There are 576 dimming zones on a 32 inch screen. Rich colors are created by quantum dots in the panel. These properties make the high contrast possible in the first place. By the way: The $1000 surcharge for the more expensive version of the screen is justified by a special nano texture on the glass that eliminates rainbow artifacts and minimizes reflections. This makes the more expensive screen matt.
The back has a pattern similar to that of the Mac Pro and has a useful purpose: to cool down the screen. Since the 576 LEDs can produce sustained (!) 1000 Nits and deliver a maximum of 1600 Nits, the screen has to be cooled accordingly to avoid overheating. This happens almost silently with the Apple Pro Display XDR at a volume of 7dB. Most rooms have a background noise of 30 dB, so the cooling at the back should only be noticeable and not audible.
1000 Nits apply only to HDR content. Content in SDR is displayed with 500 Nits. In an editing program, for example, the user interface can be displayed in 500 Nits, while the edited HDR video is displayed simultaneously in 1000 – 1600 Nits.
Alternatives for the Apple Pro Display XDR
Apple is aware that this screen is not meant for the standard user. Therefore, the company offers alternatives for screens on its own website. Of course, the features here are not quite as good as those of the Pro Display XDR, but does that justify the price? Apple itself states that comparable monitors start at $30,000. The Taiwanese manufacturer Asus is currently trying to dispute the display market with Apple: Recently, the Asus ProArt display was announced, which is supposed to score with comparable features. Unfortunately, neither release date nor price are known.
It should be equally suitable for HDR, since it also offers 1000 Nits on average and 1600 Nits maximum brightness. However, Apple is ahead in resolution, as the Asus ProArt only manages 4K. But Asus promises more connections, a higher frame rate (120 Hz) – and an integrated stand. How both monitors will perform in comparison to each other can only be guessed at this point, because while opinions are already overturning, both monitors are not yet available on the market.
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