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Lack of matte screens driving iMac fans to Windows PCs


By Stewart Mitchell

Posted on 6 May 2011 at 08:51

Apple has come under fire from loyal customers for failing to include a matte option in its latest batch of iMacs.

A petition calling for the company to release anti-glare screens has been running for four years – garnering more than 1,400 responses - and complaints have risen since the new range was launched this week.

The majority of responses on the MacMatte petition came from existing Apple owners, who said they would not upgrade until there was a matte screen available, and were being forced to switch to Windows PCs.

“My old iMac won’t cut it any more, so I have to supplement it with a Windows PC here at home,” wrote Preston. “I want a new iMac as bad as anything, but I will not buy a glossy screen."

Apple – get with the program or have you so lost touch with the people who have been your greatest ad campaign over the years?

Posters complained of getting headaches from the glossy screens, and said the reflections were a distraction – and the call came loudest from professionals that have long used iMacs for design and graphics work.

“Why is it the new iMacs still don't have an option for anti-glare," posted Johanness. "Does Apple not realise that there are power graphic users who require this? And that this is the sole thing holding them back from buying this product? Apple – get with the program, or have you so lost touch with the people who have been your greatest ad campaign over the years?”

There are add-ons on the market that remove the reflections, but consumers resent paying extra and say they also change the overall performance of the screens.

“The after-market solutions suck, and change the actual colour in the process,” said Johanness. That is unacceptable when you are doing pixel by pixel photo editing.”

Fuzzy feedback

The lack of attention to customer feedback shown in the forum flies in the face of Apple's recently stated intention to listen to customers.

The company recently announced an Apple Consumer Pulse programme that it said would make it easier to satisfy the needs of its customers.

“We love feedback,” the homepage for the initiative says.

“Apple Customer Pulse is an online community of Apple product users who provide input on a variety of subjects and issues concerning Apple.”

Not so, says the organiser of the MacMatte petition, claiming: “It contains currently 1,424 customer comments on an issue that Apple has not listened to its customers on for around four years.”

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User comments

Missing an opportunity

Lets face it, 1424 is hardly even a tiny proportion of Apple's customers.

My first thought was why don't they just get a Power Mac and a third party monitor. However Apple don't offer anything between the ancient Mac Mini and a £2000 workstation. I can only assume that they don't want all-in-one sales being cannibalised by a PC only option.

By tirons1 on 6 May 2011

You can run OSX on VMPlayer on a PC

Which makes hardware issues irrelevant.
Buy a PC.Buy a copy of Mac OSX. Use both.
Easier now than when I had a Mac mini and switch from PC to Mac using the "source" button on my monitor.

Storm in fruit bowl if you ask me.

By cheysuli on 6 May 2011

It's all the users fault. They're obviusly not looking at the screens the right way.

Apple understandably does not want to fragment its platform by adding options, as that would confuse their costumers.

(And, just in case, that was sarcasm)

By lkipper on 6 May 2011

Possibly I'm not the target market...

...but I hadn't heard of this petition before today; perhaps it's only got 1400 signatures because it hasn't been well publicised? Kind of a Hipster Kitty petition - "I signed a've probably never heard of it..."?

By nichomach0 on 6 May 2011

Health and Safety

Here in Germany, Apple also face a problem with the equivalent of the HSE.

An employer is, theoretically, not allowed to provide an employee with a glossy screen. That rules out a vast swathe of notebooks and many monitors, plus iMacs...

At least you can buy a MacBook Pro with a matt screen option.

This is probably one of the reasons why many mid-sized graphics studios have switched to Windows PC with Adobe CS in recent years. I know some artists have bought their own iMacs and use them at work, as this gets around the employer providing it...

Bigger studios either work with older white iMacs or they use Mac Pros or even old PowerPC based Macs...

By big_D on 6 May 2011

Apple listens to its customers...

...but only those it invites to speak.

From the Apple Customer Pulse website: "Membership is by invitation only and is directed to a random sample of our registered customers."

By lokash20 on 6 May 2011

I wrote a blog post on this in 2007

Apple's love affair with gloss is unfortunate, and I believe stops a lot of people upgrading. I still have a 4 year old iMac because the new ones are too shiny.

I wrote this blog about it in 2007, and have complained on Apple's Feedback forms many times but the problem still remains:

By SwissMac on 6 May 2011

Snow White

Putting together the Apple fan club and glossy screens brings to mind:

"Mirror, mirror on the wall.
Who in the land is fairest of all?"

By chapelgarth on 6 May 2011


You seem to solved the problem, but the mystery remains as to why Apple are resisting such a popular option.

By tirons1 on 6 May 2011

Production efficiency has something to do with it

From the very beginning, Apple were known for using fewer parts to get the same things done - initially using fewer transistors and then using clever techniques to reduce complexity of circuit boards.

This seems to have developed into a wish to keep the total number of different types of components to a minimum - just look at the shared components between the iMac, MacBook and Mac mini ranges for instance. Usually same processors, RAM and so on are common to all. Same with the iPhones - they only have two models in reality, black and white - they just vary on size of memory otherwise.

All this gives them incredible economies of scale which allows them to be profitable with lower sales volumes - important for survival when you have been used to a sub-10% market share in PCs for years. It also means they can pre-order massive quantities of components eg 67% of world capacity for NAND RAM and so on.

Both of these manufacturing reasons mean they do not want to have too many options. With screens, the amount of glass they order of one type is kept larger by only having one choice.

Personally I think they could be a little more flexible here, but their view is probably that the iMac is a consumer device and most consumers want glossy.

By SwissMac on 6 May 2011

Matte??? (or Matt)

What I don't get is why anyone would want a Matte screen (one with part of it blanked out so something else could be superimposed on it)?

Personally I prefer Matt screens

By PeteMelbourne on 6 May 2011

response to SwissMac

SwissMac, if that were Apple's thinking - that the iMac is just a consumer device - then you'd expect them to cater for professionals with the Mac Pro. But No. The Apple Cinema Display screen, used with the Mac Pro, only comes in ... glossy. No matte screen even for the Mac Pro. The reason why professional graphic designers, and also photographers, are so angry at Apple, is that there are zero options for people who legitimately need non-reflective screens for their work.

The only Apple computers with matte screen options are the 15" and 17" MacBook Pros. There are no matte options for people who need a portable sub-15" notebook.

It borders on the ridiculous, except when you realise that Steve Jobs's opinion at Apple overrides everyone else's - hence, if Steve Jobs does not want matte screens, then there are no matte screens.

By MacMatte on 6 May 2011

I think you're getting confused...

MacPro's don't come with Cinema Displays as standard, they're a separate purchase decision.

By SwissMac on 7 May 2011

Very funny

In 30 years, apple has never been known for listening to its customers, only for gouging them. However, they are very well known for being investigated for illegal activities, sued for endless types of fraud, and selling hardware at 2X the price - and fanbois love it. Don't hold your breath if you want a matte screen - in 4 years apple has not moved a finger - they like to make "pretty" machines that even really dumb people can use - they do not cater to professional users.

By arthur_cabot on 7 May 2011

Now don't be silly...'re asking Apple to put function over form. Won't happen.

By fingerbob69 on 7 May 2011

Google searches

Look at the results of some Google searches:

apple "does not listen" customers - 7,760,000 hits
ford "does not listen" customers - 3,740,000 hits
microsoft "does not listen" customers - 2,690,000 hits
canon "does not listen" customers - 2,250,000 hits
sony "does not listen" customers - 1,700,000 hits
at&t "does not listen" customers - 1,210,000 hits
ibm "does not listen" customers - 947,000 hits
toyota "does not listen" customers - 871,000 hits
nintendo "does not listen" customers - 727,000 hits
samsung "does not listen" customers - 663,000 hits
nikon "does not listen" customers - 217,000 hits
"hewlett packard" "does not listen" customers - 205,000 hits

By MacMatte on 7 May 2011

apple "refuses to listen" customers - 354,000
ford "refuses to listen" customers - 273,000
canon "refuses to listen" customers - 188,000
microsoft "refuses to listen" customers - 146,000
nikon "refuses to listen" customers - 137,000
sony "refuses to listen" customers - 125,000
at&t "refuses to listen" customers - 119,000
nintendo "refuses to listen" customers - 50,000
toyota "refuses to listen" customers - 39,700
samsung "refuses to listen" customers - 33,700
ibm "refuses to listen" customers - 27,500
"hewlett packard" "refuses to listen" customers - 10,200

By MacMatte on 7 May 2011

Google Searches II

Apple does listen to customers - 44,400,000
Ford does listen to customers - 25,400,000
... and so on!

By jmiii on 9 May 2011


I think you will find that your figure of 44 million contains negative & positive results, due to the absence of a literal search term " ", as used by MacMatte.
In fact, the first two results I get from your search terms are both relating to Apple *not* listening to customers.

By JonnyB on 9 May 2011

@jmiii - that's right JonnyB. When doing a google search, you need to use quotation marks when searching for a specific phrase.

For instance, if you search for - good bad ugly - you get 4,070,000 hits, whereas if you search for "good bad ugly" with quotation marks - i.e. searching for the specific phrase, you only get 1,800,000 hits. That is an advanced Google searching feature.

By MacMatte on 10 May 2011

HP google searches

Concerning "hewlett packard", Google finds are not so clear. One should search for either HP or "hewlett packard" phrases at the same time.

By stasi47 on 25 May 2011

Google Searches III

"apple listens to customers" 133
"ford listens to customers" 9
"microsoft listens to customers" 1380
"canon listens to customers" 1
"sony listens to customers" 321
"at&t listens to customers" 9
"ibm listens to customers" 1
"toyota listens to customers" 6
"nintendo listens to customers" 1
"samsung listens to customers" 2
"nikon listens to customers" 1
"hp listens to customers" 40
"hewlett packard listens to customers" 0

"apple listens to its customers" 1060
"ford listens to its customers" 2
"microsoft listens to its customers" 1290
"canon listens to its customers" 9
"sony listens to its customers" 106
"at&t listens to its customers" 1
"ibm listens to its customers" 6
"toyota listens to its customers" 2180
"nintendo listens to its customers" 3
"samsung listens to its customers" 5
"nikon listens to its customers" 59
"hp listens to its customers" 8
"hewlett packard listens to its customers" 1

By stasi47 on 25 May 2011

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