Apple faces lawsuit over MacBook

22 May 2007

A lawsuit has been filed against Apple by two MacBook users in the state of California, claiming that the company falsely advertised the MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops as being capable of displaying as many as 16 million colours.

The two men filed the suit on 3 May, alleging that instead of the promised millions of colours from eight bits per channel, the laptops are only capable of six bits, which translates to 262,144 colours.

The lawsuit also points to other Apple customers who have found the same problem and who report the screen display as being “grainy” or “sparkly” in appearance.

Outlined in the lawsuit is the technical specifications of the MacBook range as given by Apple, quoting “TFT display for millions of colours”, and goes on to state that it only gives the illusion of displaying this colour quality through a software technique known as “dithering”.

When testing the dithering effect on the MacBook display, the plaintiffs allege that running the Window operating system on the MacBook produces superior results when compared to the Mac OS.

The two Californians also claim that many other MacBook users have previously complained to Apple about these display issues, only to be told “that they were imagining the complained about defects”.

Further to filing a suit against Apple for false advertising, the men also accuse the company of editing or entirely deleting comments made by unhappy customers on the official Apple discussion forum, giving several examples.

One such comment taken from the Apple forum, and cited in the lawsuit, read: “The sad truth of the matter is that currently they don’t have a pro laptop that has a high-quality display so there’s nothing more they can do until they change the LCD manufacturer or fix the QC problem.”

Specifically, the lawsuit seeks an injunction to stop Apple from advertising their claim of displays of millions of colours under the California Business and Professions Code and the California Legal Remedies Act.

The two men are also seeking damages for loss of professional productivity and looking for a reimbursement in the difference between what the MacBook cost and what they feel it is actually worth.

By Marie Boran