What I found at the NYC Apple store about the touchscreen

Discussion in 'iPod touch' started by pflau, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. pflau macrumors 6502

    Sep 17, 2007
    OK, I dropped by the NYC flagship store tonight. The place was crowded as usual. I managed to look at three different displayed samples of the iPod Touch. These are all very early, first batch samples of course. All three samples looked exactly the same so I’m going to talk as if I looked at just one.

    Let’s answer the most obvious question: is there a problem? The answer, judging from the three samples that I saw, is YES.

    Before I go on to describe what I saw, I want to make sure anyone who wants to verify what I’m able to say be able to do so.

    When you go into an Apple store and look at the iPods, you most likely would find that the boat chase scene from the movie The Italian Job is loaded into just about all the displayed iPods on the premise. Play the boat chase video, at exactly the 15 second mark you would see, for just a fraction of a second (it’s an action sequence so the camera does not stay on any one character for long), the close up of a character dressed in black. You pause the video right there and look at the scene dead on. You would see what I’m about to describe.

    The first thing that I did when I picked up the Touch was to check on a grey scale chart that I made:


    I just did not see any problem asides from the usual color getting dark, becoming washed out, changing hue, etc., when you tilt a LCD screen from side to side.

    Next I played the Italian Job boat chase video. Since the characters were all dressed in black, I paused the video during a close up, and I immediately noticed the problem, most prominently at the 15 second mark.

    The problem is that the screen, in combination with the video software, has problem displaying the deepest black. The best way I can think of to describe the visual phenomenon is this:

    When you tilt a typical LCD screen and look at it from different angles, you would sooner or later arrive at an angle where the screen looks washed out with very low contrast and where the blacks look a few shades lighter, as if there is severe light leak over the entire face of the screen. Now use that as the starting point, when you slowly tilt the screen back to where you look at the screen dead on, all that low contrast washed out light black look should disappear.

    Now imagine that they don’t all disappear.

    Imagine that you still get some of that light leak look at the deepest shades of black. That is what some people describe as “inverted” black because the black has too much light oozing out. And along with that the loss of contrast and the "washed out" look.

    Finally I looked at the picture from this thread,


    The picture looked normal to me. But since the picture itself looks sort of inverted already I had a tough time making a proper assessment. However, I did find that the viewing angle of the screen is rather narrow, meaning that the angle between looking at the screen dead on and the angle where you cannot distinguish the different shades of black on the picture is not quite as great as that of my iPhone. Note that I am not saying the viewing angle of the screen is rather narrow, but the viewing angle of the screen when used to view this very particular picture is rather narrow. This can indeed occur if there is a loss of contrast at the very darkest shades of black.

    Afterward I looked at the Italian Job clip on the various iPhones on displayed and I did not see the same issue.

    So this is what I found. One guy's objective observation.
  2. Shanesan macrumors 6502


    Jul 29, 2006
    Another good assessment. Thank you for your commentary!

    We'll see how mine ends up when Apple ships me it...
  3. pflau thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 17, 2007
    Oh, BTW, I think the iPod Touch is a kick ass iPod. The size, the weight, the brushed metal bezel, and the overall feel is perfect.
  4. Arisian macrumors 68000


    Sep 14, 2007
    i love mine, but the darks are kinda messed up. Really hope apple says something about it soon.

  5. virus1 macrumors 65816


    Jun 24, 2004
    Dear god i hope mine isn't one of these animals.
  6. caMi macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2007
    It is not video software...

    If you tilt the left corner downward the video looks perfectly normal.

    It is a hardware problem.
  7. --Wolf-- macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2007
    Chch, New Zealand
    I'm 99% sure Apple knows about this and the new batch of Touches arriving will not have the problem (or at least won't be as bad)
  8. caMi macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2007
    We can only hope, although I think you are being a bit optimistic.
  9. --Wolf-- macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2007
    Chch, New Zealand
    Why? A company like Apple isn't stupid, they won't let something this big so aside. But I am still willing to be that there will be no screen probs (or at least NOT MANY) from the people who got their's from after the 28th.

    Maybe the 'early' release was to beta test it.
  10. caMi macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2007
    man i hate being a beta tester. I didn't sign up for this.
  11. uburoibob macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2002
    Location: Rochester, NY
    It IS the video software. If you tilt ANY LCD you can make it look weird. This is a software problem people, and a relatively easy fix, at that. Don't believe me? Take a problem photo - pull it into photoshop and roll the dark end back by adjusting levels by about 20%. WHOA! It looks perfect on the iPod touch! Whatta revelation? Sadly, there are an awful lot of folks who want to believe that this HAS to be a hardware problem (same as a huge amount in the 1g iPod believed the whine had to be hardware - it was software too).

    Everyone just sit tight and stop the mass craziness. This is an EASILY solved problem. In the meantime, try and enjoy your $400 purchase. It's really the coolest piece of kit out there.

  12. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    No, nobobdy WANTS it to be a hardware problem. I'm pretty sure everyone hopes it is a software issue. But the thing is-

    1. Someone here posted a dark album cover image the other day, and when you view it via Safari, it looks bad.

    2. When you view dark video scenes, if you tilt the screen slightly it actually makes the problem go away. But then you start to get the regular image quality loss from off-axis viewing that you get with all LCD's. It's because of this that most people think it's a hardware issue.

    Hence the numerous posts about people saying how they don't want to watch movies with the screens tilted slightly downwards and to the left.
  13. macpluslaptop macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    So why doesn't Apple release a statement saying a software fix is coming? They must be getting a significant number of returns, all of which will have to be resold as used. If they could stop the bleeding with an easy fix, you'd think they would.:eek:
  14. jbgordon macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2007
    An easy way to tell if your screen is good or bad that doesn't involve anything but the software on the phone is to hold down the on/off button until the red "slide to turn off" screen appears. Then, look to see if the calculator, settings, and clock home buttons appear dimmed, as they should, or like negatives, meaning the screen has an issue. On my screen the icons look negative but tilting shows them to be dimmed, which is a problem because I shouldn't have to tilt the iPod to see the best picture.
  15. RyanG macrumors 6502

    Sep 18, 2007
    Software is the same on every touch and some screens are good while others are bad. How can it be software then?
  16. gloss macrumors 601


    May 9, 2006
    So, your solution to the fact that these iPods cannot display proper deep blacks is to...adjust the images so there are no deep blacks.

    edit: Okay, I'm crying uncle. I see what you're getting at now.

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