Apple’s Long Goodbye to CRT technology

Filed under: Hardware

In May 2001 Apple announced its intention to become the first computer vendor “to move to an all LCD flat panel display pro lineup“.
AppleThe company discontinued its last CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) display, the Apple Studio Display 17″ ADC, which had been introduced less than an year before, in July of 2000, and replaced it with the Studio Display 17″ LCD. This new LCD, priced aggressively at just 999 USD, completed its offer which now featured at the top a 22″ Apple Cinema Display, sold ay 2,499 USD. On the low end of the lineup was the Apple Studio Display 15″ LCD, now upgraded to the same “plexiglass” design as the others and offered at 599 USD.

From the tone of the press release one would be led to believe that Apple had completed its transition to LCD and abandoned the old and less efficient display techology. Actually, this goal was still far and it took quite a few years until all Macintosh products were actually CRT-free.

The transition first started in March 1998 when the original Apple Studio Display 15″ LCD was introduced at a whopping 1999 USD. PowerMac G3 Blue & White with Apple Studio Display 15 - 1998Designed to be used with the PowerMac G3 Blue & White and fitting the translucent plastics design language, the Apple Studio Display 15″ LCD was the first non-CRT Apple display, touted at the time as being “twice as bright and sharp”, having “twice the contrast ratio” but also occupying “less than half the desktop space” and weighting just “a quarter of the weight of a conventional monitor”.

After switching all of its external displays to LCD in 2001, at the beginning of the following year Apple introduced a new generation of iMac, powered by a G4 processor and resembling a sunflower, or, more prosaically, a posable desk lamp with a flat panel screen perching atop its adjustable arm, or stem, if you wish.

eMacApple, though, was not done with the CRT: not only it kept selling the 500 and 600 MHz iMac G3 models until March 2003 but even launched a new low-cost Macintosh with a built-in 17-inch cathode ray tube monitor. It was the eMac, which was originally designed for the educational market but proved to be so sought-after that its distribution was eventually widened to the mass market and marketed as “the most affordable digital hub”.
The last eMac model was finally discontinued in October 2005, and with it – after more than seven years – Apple finally said goodbye to the CRT.

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Tuesday 19 March 2013, 11:56 am
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