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The Apple Cinema Display is a line of flat panel computer monitors introduced in September 1999 by Apple Inc. It was initially sold alongside the older line of Studio Displays, but eventually replaced them. In July 2011, Apple introduced its successor, the Thunderbolt Display, and the Cinema Display was no longer offered on the Apple Store website as of August 2014. Apple offered 20-, 22-, 23-, 24-, 27- and 30-inch sizes, with the last model being a 27-inch size with LED backlighting.

There have been three designs for the Cinema Display, one featuring polycarbonate plastic and two featuring anodized aluminum. The first displays were designed to match the colorful plastic of the Power Mac G3 and later the Power Mac G4 while the second revisions were designed to match the more professional aesthetics of the Power Mac G5 and PowerBook G4. The last available design matched the unibody laptops released in October 2008. The newer Thunderbolt Display uses the same design as the 27-inch size Cinema LED Display.


  • 1 Early Cinema Displays
    • 1.1 30-inch model compatibility
  • 2 Matte vs glossy screen
  • 3 Technical specifications
  • 4 LED Cinema Display
    • 4.1 Technical specifications
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Early Cinema Displays[edit]

The first model—the 22-inch Apple Cinema Display—was introduced in September 1999 alongside the Power Mac G4 and used DVI for video input. It was enclosed in a high-density plastic frame with an easel-style stand and had a display resolution of 1600 × 1024. This model was upgraded in July 2000 with the Apple Display Connector (ADC), which ran DVI, USB, and 25V power through a single connector. It was eventually replaced by a 20-inch model on January 28, 2003 that sported a widescreen display with up to 1680 × 1050 resolution.

The 23-inch model, dubbed the "Cinema HD Display", was introduced on March 20, 2002 and supported full 1080p resolution.

On June 28, 2004, Apple introduced a redesigned line of Cinema Displays, along with a new 30-inch model that, like the 23-inch model, carried the "Cinema HD Display" name. The new models had an anodized aluminum enclosure that matched Apple's high-end lines of professional products. An alternative stand or a wall mount could be used with a VESA mount adapter kit that was sold separately. Though the display enclosures had not been redesigned for a long period of time, several "silent" improvements were made to the brightness levels and contrast ratios.[1]

With the introduction of the 24-inch LED Cinema Display in October 2008, the 23-inch Cinema HD Display was discontinued. The 20-inch model was also discontinued in February 2009, leaving the 30-inch display as the only model left.

30-inch model compatibility[edit]

Due to the high resolution (2560 × 1600), the 30-inch model requires a dual-link DVI capable graphics card. Macbook Pro 15 inch to 17 inch from 2007 and onwards can drive this display as well.

As of fall 2013, no Macintosh is currently sold with a dual-link DVI port. However, all current Macs come with a Thunderbolt connector which can be used with a separately sold adapter[2] to run the 30-inch display.

All Power Mac G5, PowerBook G4, and Mac Pro models that were introduced after the 30-inch model was released are capable of supporting it without the use of any adapters. Discrete construction MacBook Pros are also capable of driving the 30-inch display, while all Macs released after October 2008 require an additional adapter. The 30-inch Cinema Display was introduced together with the GeForce 6800, which supports two DVI-DL ports. ATI's aftermarket AGP X800 Mac Edition, which is only compatible with the Power Mac G5, also supports dual-link DVI, but has only one port. The Radeon 9600 Mac/PC was another aftermarket graphics card that supported dual-link DVI and was also compatible with older AGP-based Power Macs.

If a computer with a single-link DVI port (such as a Mac laptop with a mini-DVI connector) is connected to the 30-inch display, it will only run at 1280 × 800, even if the computer is capable of supporting 1920 × 1200 over a single-link connection.

Matte vs glossy screen[edit]

Since the transition on October 14, 2008 to the Aluminum and glass models, Apple removed the matte, anti-glare screen panels in its Cinema Display lineup (except the 30" Cinema Display). Apple moved away from matte screens in its line of iMac desktop computers on August 7, 2007. Apple removed the antiglare option from its MacBook Pro range in 2011 with the discontinuation of the MacBook Pro 17-inch 2010 model, so Apple no longer offers any equipment with a matte, anti-glare screen. This has caused concern among a segment of users that desire matte screens for their particular area of work, for example, graphic designers, photographers, and users that view their screens for many hours per day.[3]

The Wall Street Journal referred to Apple's removal of the matte screen as one of Apple's worst design decisions.[4]

Technical specifications[edit]

Table of models Component Cold cathodefluorescent lamp–backlit LCDModel Apple Cinema Display Apple Cinema HD Display Apple Cinema Display Apple Cinema HD Display
Model number M5662 M8149 M8536 A1038 A1081 A1082 A1083
Apple Order Number N/A M8058ZM/A M8537ZM/A M8893ZM/A M9177LL/A M9178LL/A M9179LL/A
Release date(s) September 1, 1999 July 19, 2000 March 20, 2002 January 28, 2003 June 28, 2004
Discontinued July 19, 2000 January 28, 2003 June 28, 2004 February 19, 2009 November 17, 2008 July 26, 2010
(all widescreen unless otherwise stated)
22", matte, LCD, 1600 × 1024 (fullscreen) 23", matte, LCD, 1920 × 1200 20", matte, LCD, 1680 × 1050 23", matte, LCD, 1920 × 1200 30", matte, LCD, 2560 × 1600
25:16 aspect ratio 16:10 aspect ratio
Pixel density
(in pixels per inch)
86.35 98.4 101.6
Brightness 180 cd/m2 180 cd/m2 200 cd/m2 230 cd/m2 250 (or 300) cd/m2 270 (or 400) cd/m2 270 (or 400) cd/m2
Contrast Ratio 400:1 (or 700:1) 400:1 (or 700:1) 400:1 (or 700:1)
Response time Unknown 16 ms
Power 62–77 W 70 W 60 W 65 W 90 W 150 W
Material Polycarbonate frame Aluminum frame
Input DVI-D Apple Display Connector DVI-D Dual-link DVI-D
  • On August 7, 2006 the Aluminium Cinema displays had a silent upgrade that boosted the brightness and contrast ratios to 300/400 cd/m2 and 700:1. These last Cinema displays are still very desirable to photo and video professionals being the last anti-glare displays made by Apple and having a true IPS 8-bit (no dithering) back-lit panel. Their brightness of 400 cd/m2 being higher than the current Apple Thunderbolt display that has a reflective glossy screen and an edge-lit panel.

LED Cinema Display[edit]

On October 14, 2008, the 23-inch Cinema Display was replaced with a 24-inch model made with aluminium and glass which had a similar appearance to the latest iMac, MacBook Pro and unibody MacBook designs. The display features a built-in iSight camera, microphone, and dual speaker system. A MagSafe cable runs from the back of the display for charging notebooks. It is the first Cinema Display to use LED backlighting and the Mini DisplayPort for video input. The LED backlighting however is edge-lit as opposed to the fully back-lit CCFL of the previous models, resulting in a lower brightness cd/m2 output. This display is only officially compatible with Macs that have the Mini DisplayPort connector. A third-party converter must be used in order to use this display with older Macs.

On July 26, 2010, the 24-inch and 30-inch Cinema Displays were replaced by a 27-inch model that supports up to 2560 × 1440 resolution.

On July 20, 2011, the Cinema Display line was superseded by the Apple Thunderbolt Display.

Technical specifications[edit]

Table of models Component Light-emitting diode–backlit LCDModel LED Cinema Display[5]LED Cinema Display (27-Inch)[6]
Model number A1267 A1316
Order number MB382LL/A MC007LL/A
Release date October 14, 2008 July 27, 2010
Discontinued Date July 26, 2010 December 2, 2013[citation needed]
(all widescreen)
24", glossy glass covered screen, LCD, 1920 × 1200, with LED edge-lit backlighting 27", glossy glass covered screen, LCD, 2560 × 1440, with LED edge-lit backlighting
16:10 aspect ratio 16:9 aspect ratio
Built-in Camera iSight iSight
Brightness 330 cd/m2 375 cd/m2
Colors 16.7 million (maximum) True Color 16.7 million (maximum) True Color
Pixel density
(in pixels per inch)
94.3 109
Response time 14 ms 12 ms
Power Up to 212 W (while charging a MacBook Pro) Up to 250 W (while charging a MacBook Pro)
Material Aluminum frame and glass front
Ports/Connectors Mini DisplayPort, 3 × USB 2.0
Original Price USD 9 USD 9


  1. ^ Taghap, Herschell (March 28, 2006). "Apple's 30 Cinema Display gets quiet upgrade". Ars Technica. Retrieved August 3, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Apple – Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter". Apple Inc. Retrieved September 29, 2015. 
  3. ^ Which? Magazine poll shows 89% of users want matte screens Which? magazine, June 9, 2011
  4. ^ Steve Jobs’s Worst Design Decisions? The Wall Street Journal, August 29, 2011
  5. ^ "LED Cinema Display – Technical Specifications". Apple Inc. Retrieved June 9, 2011. 
  6. ^ "LED Cinema Display (27-inch) – Technical Specifications". Apple Inc. Retrieved June 9, 2011. 

External links[edit]

  • Apple Cinema Display 20/23/30-inch User Manual
  • Apple Matters – Collections
  • Kubicki, Kristopher. "The 20 inch LCD shootout: Dell versus Apple", "AnandTech", April 27, 2005.
  • Luepke, Lara. "Battle of the 30-inch monitors: Apple Cinema Display vs. Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP", "CNET prizefight", March 22, 2006.