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Probable explanation for Ipod Touch LCD deficiencies

27688 Views 89 Replies Latest reply: Apr 2, 2008 10:56 PM by jr20079 RSS
  • jmpage2 Calculating status...
    I'm an engineer too (although no experience with LCD construction) and this sounds along the lines of what this would be.

    The thing that concerns me is that these things take weeks to get to the US for distribution from China. If Apple is not even aware of the issue it could take a couple of months for 'good' units to make their way to store shelves.

    Also in question is whether Apple will do the honorable thing and offer to exchange the affected units for BRAND NEW ones or if they will be jerks about the whole thing and swap them with refurbs or refuse to ever acknowledge the issue.
    Variety, Windows Vista
  • Talsma Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 16, 2007 6:19 PM (in response to jmpage2)
    Hmm I don't think it takes as long as you might think.

    The current iPod Touches that are out were made in week 36 and 37.

    That is just like a week or 2 ago.
    24" iMac, Mac OS X (10.4.8), Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Janne Ojaniemi Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    What would be interesting experiment to try out is to remove the outer glass from the screen, and see if that "fixes" the problem. Obviously you couldn't really use the device without the glass, but at least we could then narrow the possible causes down a bit.
  • R C-R Level 6 Level 6 (13,805 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 17, 2007 7:23 AM (in response to jmpage2)
    If Apple is not even aware of the issue it could take a couple of months for 'good' units to make their way to store shelves.

    It appears that what is on shelves now is a mix of good & bad units.

    The theory of this thread points toward a quality control issue with a manufacturing step -- either with the application of the anti-reflective coating, the assembly of the LCD-glass sandwich, or possibly both. It is also possible the defect is introduced post-manufacture, for instance by exceeding non-operating environmental limits during shipping. (Imagine Touch LCD-glass sandwiches de-laminating in a poorly pressurized air freight cargo hold or overheated truck or rail car.) It is even possible the defect is "pre-manufacture" -- for instance a maker of the coating or some other chemical knowingly or unknowingly supplies an adulterated or substandard product.

    All of these things occur frequently enough in modern worldwide commerce that it is unlikely Apple or its manufacturing affiliates can't pinpoint the source of the problem & correct it quickly. In fact, it probably already has. Identifying already shipped units with the defect is potentially much more difficult, depending on the cause. This will probably require resolution at the retail level.

    The right thing for Apple to do in this respect is to let the retail channel know about the possibility of the defect, supply methods to it for identifying the defect that don't depend on highly subjective judgments, & expedite replacements with units free of the defect from known good supplies. To avoid snafus it probably won't do the first step until it can supply the second, but that should take a matter of a few days at most. The third step might take longer because of high demand & limited known-good, in-channel product availability.
    iMac G5/2.0 GHz 17" ALS (Rev B), Mac OS X (10.4.10), 1.5 GB, Kensington Trackball
  • jmpage2 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 17, 2007 7:31 AM (in response to R C-R)
    Even the photos/videos I've seen of the 'good' displays don't hold a candle to the display quality of the iPhone, they show over-contrasted images with no details in the dark areas of a scene.

    So at this point I'm not sure if there really are any 'good' units out there. It's certainly possible that something is failing in manufacturing, curing or shipping of the product that is resulting in varying degrees of symptoms with end units.

    And I agree, the smartest thing for Apple to do is alert all retailers with affected batches of the product that they need to swap out the affected units (identified by serial, etc) with a new one, for a period of say 90 days to get the bad units cycled out.

    There is a lot of money at stake here (10's of Millions at least) so it's hard to say if Apple will do the 'right thing' or not.
    Variety, Windows Vista
  • BenLindelof Calculating status...
    Good attempt at solving the problem, but I disagree with you.

    1.) The brightness is turned all the way up.

    2.) You just can't see any of the black detail. Period. It's not Bright enough.

    3.) In areas where you should see some dark detail, it randomly is Brighter in certain areas.

    This is clearly not the AR layer. It's a problem with the video codec or display settings. The AR properties are working fine, #1 means brightness is all the way max (it should be washed out).

    #2 and #3 indicate that the colors just aren't displaying right.

    Again, good try, but you're not addressing the actual problems with the brightness.
    Mac, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • masterzone Level 1 Level 1 (80 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 17, 2007 8:55 AM (in response to jmpage2)
    oh so good....I'm in preorder here..I hope in next week apple send ok units...good news anyway....

    Windows, Windows XP Pro
  • jmpage2 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    If what you were saying was correct then the picture wouldn't look "normal" when viewed at an off-axis angle.

    This problem DOES show up in other places than video it's just not as obvious. Additionally the iPod is super bright, this issue is not with brightness or video drivers, it's a problem with these displays.
    Variety, Windows Vista
  • Neil Curry Level 2 Level 2 (170 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 17, 2007 9:07 AM (in response to jmpage2)
    Well looking at the images in numerous reviews and forums this looks more like a viewing angle issue to me, off axis viewing on cheaper LCD screens can cause a negative affect which is more prominent on darker colours. Also on cheaper screens the horizontal viewing angle is lower than the vertical so rotating the screen would further emphasise this problem.

    Just my thought.
    iMac Core 2 Duo 2.16 GHz + MacBook Core 2 Duo 2 GHz, Mac OS X (10.4.9), iMac 2 GB RAM + MacBook 1GB RAM
  • UrbanVoyeur Level 1 Level 1 (130 points)
    Sounds like it is a problem with the gamma of the LCD's baseline calibration. The gamma curves control what shades map to black, grey, etc. If a several of dark colors all appear black with no separation, then these curves need tweaking.

    I think it could be fixed for a software patch - especially on that allowed you to control the curves. or just better initial calibration.
    Home Brew, Windows XP Pro
  • jmpage2 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    This isn't off axis viewing. This is head on viewing with the problem described (blacks showing up with a glow like a film negative).

    Look at this image which is HEAD ON to the screen (I should know, as I photographed it);

    In fact, tilting the screen AWAY to an off axis angle can slightly correct the problem. I've owned LCDs since they came out and have owned about a dozen of them over the past 10 or so years. I've never seen one that looks like this.
    Variety, Windows Vista
  • futbalguy Calculating status...
    Its clearly not a software issue. As an owner of one of these defective touchs I can say it certainly manufacturing. The screen looks better when viewed from an angle. Not just any angle though, only by rotating it back and slightly to the left does it look decent. Looking at it from any other angle just looks awful.
    Macbook 1.83 1gigram
  • R C-R Level 6 Level 6 (13,805 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 17, 2007 9:49 AM (in response to jmpage2)
    There is a lot of money at stake here (10's of Millions at least) so it's hard to say if Apple will do the 'right thing' or not.

    I'm not worried about that for two reasons:

    1. Apple is likely insulated from the costs of most manufacturing defects since fabricators & suppliers usually are responsible for reimbursing the costs of defects they cause. For example, Apple says it bore none of the costs of the battery recalls because the defect was in the batteries Sony supplied, not in its own design or manufacturing methods.

    2. Even if Apple has to bear all or or most of the cost, it isn't an opportunistic company interested in maximizing short term profits at the expense of long term gains. It doesn't just want to sell you one of its products once, it wants your continued business, ideally replacing the last 'insanely great thing' with the next one for years & years to come.

    Obviously, this doesn't work very well unless you actually think the current thing is insanely great!

    In fact, I think Apple's biggest problem is it is so good at this that it builds consumer expectations beyond what is possible. We expect zero defects & mission critical, five nines reliability at consumer prices -- every time, all the time.
    iMac G5/2.0 GHz 17" ALS (Rev B), Mac OS X (10.4.10), 1.5 GB, Kensington Trackball
  • myflyertrainsc Calculating status...
    Yes, mine looks best when tipping it back and to the left
    iMac 20" Core duo 2.0g, Mac OS X (10.4.10), 16g Touch
  • blownfuse Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 17, 2007 10:10 AM (in response to jmpage2)
    If your iPod really displays video the way the picture represents, take it back to Apple. Any self-respecting "genius" will recognize a problem and help score you a "resolution."
    MacBook Pro 17" 2.4, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
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