MacRumors.com is reporting on a rumor that Apple will announce its new Cinema Displays at MacWorld San Francisco 2009, set to take place January 5 through 9.
It's been nearly four years since CNET reviewed Apple's 20-inch, 23-inch, and 30-inch Cinema Displays, all of which used normal lamp-based backlighting to illuminate the displays. The most exciting prospect for the new versions is that they are expected to use LED-based backlighting.
LED technology in displays is kind of the new hotness right now, with good reason. Lamp-based LCD solutions are never able to achieve true, deep blacks because there is always enough "bleed-through" of light that it lightens the blacks, making them technically dark grays. In an LED-based LCD, the backlight is made of an array of individual LEDs that can each be individually dimmed or turned off completely. If you're watching a scene from a movie, for example, where a portion of that scene is much darker than other parts, the LEDs for that dark section of the screen can turn off automatically, making that dark portion of the scene even darker and closer to true black. Another advantage is that LED backlights consume a lot less power, making them more energy efficient.
There are still some cons, however--the main one being price. The current 30-inch Apple Cinema Display can be found for as low as $1,639 online, but LED-based LCDs at 30 inches and even 24 inches are, at least at this point, much more cost prohibitive.
I hope this rumor pans out. I'm very excited about the idea of LED technology in displays, even if there are some kinks still to work out. If this does come to fruition, hopefully it's only because Apple has been able to get it to a reasonable price point.