OMGOODNESS, thank you SO much. So the backlighting comes from LED!!! That makes sense, but because the specs said LCD screen I was confused. I didn't think those two things could co-exist: LCD and LED.
Well, it goes back tomorrow with sadness. I will miss the ability to record memos without a headset, the ability to take photos and use iCloud, but I have to be able to see and use a device without a headache and other symptoms of eyestrain. I am glad that a few vendors have the 3rd generation, which I think is okay.
I wish Apple could find a way to accomodate those of us who are sensitive to this type of display. I love the simplicity and function of Apple products, and will enjoy them as long as I can.
I am curious: how are other display backlit, if not with LED?
CCFL backlighting is the alternative; it was used in all LCDs before LED backlighting was introduced.
Some external displays are still available with CCFL. NEC has thirty displays starting at $300 MSRP. I have the NEC WUXi2 24" that was recently discontinued. I use it with a 13" early 2011 MBP. It is a terrific display that is built like a tank (it weighs as much as my 24" iMac...) and NEC displays have a four year warranty. All NEC displays have a matte anti-glare panel.
NEC displays are often available at discount prices from B&H Photo and other online retailers.
I also wanted to say thank you to MisterMojo for the link to the site with CCFL displays.
I bought a 27'' 2011 iMac and within a week was experiencing the same symptoms as the original poster... headache, eyestrain and a weird feeling like my eyes were bulging out of their sockets, motion sickness and throwing up.
I do graphic design work where correct color is very important so programs like Shades or wearing computer glasses isn't an option for me but hooking up an external CCFL backlit moniter and taping black construction paper over the iMac screen completely solved the problem. I'm not at all happy that I had to invest another $1000 into a moniter when I'd already sprung for the 27" iMac but at least now I can get back to work.
As far as I'm aware nearly the entire range is PWM free, except for the Air. The iPad 3 almost certainly is, and the iPhone 4S is for sure, and likely its predecessors. Unfortunately that is not all there is to it. I know that I'm sensitive to something else about Apple's approach to LEDs, it's not a bad one, but intense nonetheless. I mean I can tell they've really have mulled these details, but there's just something about the Cinema Display that melts my face. Meanwhile HP makes a 27 inch monitor, also LED, also flickerless that I find much gentler. How the light source can differ so greatly I may never understand. The first issue with the iPad 3 is what it took to get sufficient amounts of light through the increased resolution - twice the LEDs than before. If Apple really is prepared to release retina laptops, they should have the same complication. I mean the real test is being in front of one. For now I've built my little HP Mini netbook. Pixel Qi, backlight disabled and it's certainly Kindle-esque, minus the dreadful limitations. It's not perfect though... but might hold me over till Apple releases the iNk in 2020. Still if the iPad 3 is an issue the rumor, I believe patent drawing based, has it next gen MacBooks could use the same kind of dual lightbar technology.
Thanks Pixel Eater. Really appreciated.
Were the early unibody macbook pros PWM free? - my wife has one it gives me headaches and nausea too.
If they have always been PWM free then there must be something else causing my problems.
Also are there any other manufacturers of laptops that are PWM free and easier on the eye that you know of.
I'm a bit confused about all this. I definitely have eyestrain from using several apple products, mainly 2011 MacBook pro 13.
Need a new computer and can't decide whether to get a high end mini with a ccfl monitor of some kind, or maybe wait for the new iMac with anti glare? Half the people I read say mac displays help them and half say the opposite in terms of the backlighting but most people agree glare is a big strain issue.
Any help appreciated, and also if going Leon the ccfl route, I can't find a decent nec here in the uk for less than 600 pounds, quite steep!
I have replied to this post before as I had to return brand new 2010 17'' MacbookPro due to feeling dizzy and having kind of blurred vision because of the screen.
This is update to this thread as I've gone to test drive the new iPad with retina display and after 10 minutes I started to get the - now very well known - feeling of having dizzy vision.
So I left and saved my money I was ready to spend.
Anyway - this makes me worried as I bet this is going to be the same with the new macbooks.
Suprisingly enough I had a chance to use Dell laptop, also with LED, and although not as pleasant as CCFL I did not feel it was that hard on my eyes. It definitelly was not as bright as MBP which was great. I can't stand MBP brightness and honestly do not understand who does (I run my 2007 CCFL MBP, I am still using due to the fact I can't buy a new one, on 30%-40% of brightness with absolute satisfaction).
I plan to buy MBP once it comes out and I also plan to ship it straight back if it causes me any discomfort.
Edit: I can look at my iPhone 4 screen all day long and have no issues, apart from being less able to fall asleep if I use it for considerable amount of time right before going to sleep - not sure if anybody found that but I would have though this might be the same with any monitor/TV/etc. However I noticed I've got the same issue if I watch a LED TV in the evening.
I certainly do.
However if you turn that down to comfortable level two things happen:
1) color fidelity is gone
2) it seems to amplify the dizzyness issue
3) whatever you do, the white keeps being poisonous blinding white even on lower leves.
So not that it can be turned down to sort anything out.
I don't really think you can get as low as with CCFL either.
I think they make it so bright it looks good in their shops under lots and lots of artificial light however that's nowhere near to environment in which most people use these machines. I do not find it overwhelming in apple stores - however as soon as I bring it home I know something is wrong. The displays are boosted to be atractive, not comfortable.
I'm sorry to hear that reducing the brightness isn't the answer for you. But you do have to remember that it's only a very tiny percentage of users who have any trouble with current and recent MBP screens. Apple isn't pulling a fast one on all its customers with its store setups. The overwhelming majority of buyers (many, many millions of them by now, compared to the 100 or 200 different sufferers who have posted here) are delighted with their screens — most of them even more so at home, where they can control the lighting, than in the store where they can't. So it's too bad that the screens don't work for you. I hope you can find something else that does.