The latest MacBook Pro boasts what Apple calls a True Tone display.
It's a technology that first made its appearance on the iPad Pro, it was subsequently added to devices like the the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X, but now it's landed on Apple's new flagship laptop models.
But what is True Tone, what does True Tone do and how does it make displays better? Here's everything you need to know know about True Tone.
Apple True Tone display: How does it work?
The MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, iPhone 8 and iPhone X feature sensors that measure the ambient light colour and brightness. The device then uses this information to adjust its display, so it can correct white point and illumination based on your environmental lighting in order to render the right kinds of white under any conditions. This technology isn't new as some desktop monitors have been offering it for a long time.
The thing to remember is that the human optical system is constantly comparing near-white to perfectly white, and that a "better" white can affect our perceived contrast of whatever we're looking at, meaning an adjusted white point should be more comfortable on our eyes. It also means that the new iPhones and iPad Pro should be more readable in direct sunlight, thus improving its usability ever so subtly.
But there's another important element here for creatives and that's ensuring that the colours displayed remain consistent and accurate. For the inclusion in the MacBook Pro (which is for both the display and the Touch Bar), True Tone makes for a natural viewing experience that's not skewed by ambient light.
Here's how Apple explained its True Tone display when it was first launched:
"The 9.7-inch iPad Pro features advanced display technologies, including a True Tone display, which uses new four-channel sensors to dynamically adjust the white balance of the display to match the light around you for a more natural and accurate, paper-white viewing experience. The advanced Retina display is 25 percent brighter and 40 percent less reflective than iPad Air 2, making content even easier to see indoors and out. It uses the same wider color gamut as the iMac with Retina 5K display, delivering 25 percent greater color saturation for more vivid colours. A custom timing controller, photo alignment and oxide TFT deliver incredible color, contrast and clarity."
Apple True Tone: Does it need to be enabled?
Yes. Unlike the iPhone's True Tone flash, the iPad Pro's True Tone display can be enabled and disabled. Under Settings, go to Display & Brightness, and switch on or off True Tone.
The same applies to the latest iPhone models - it's on by default, but you can switch it off. We'd imagine that will be true of the new MacBook Pro too. Why would you switch it off? Personal preference - light Night Shift or autobrightness, sometimes you just want things to stay static and nor be changing while you're looking at them.
Apple True Tone: Is True Tone related to Night Shift?
Night Shift was a feature introduced in iOS 9.3. It uses the iPad or iPhone's clock and geolocation to automatically adjust the colours in the display to the warmer end of the spectrum after dark. The idea is the reduce exposure to blue light, which stimulates the brain and can keep you awake, leading to a bad night's sleep.
Night Shift basically works like True Tone, but for a different reason. It makes the screen get warmer closer to your bed time in order to reduce the amount of blue light emitted from the screen.
This will make the display appear more orangey. But a warmer display should be much more comfortable for late-night reading when ambient light is likely to be lower. Apple has suggested that blue light can affect our sleep by throwing off our circadian rhythm, which moderates our body clock. It suppress the secretion of melatonin, too. Harvard researchers and their colleagues have even proved this with experiments.
So, Night Shift should reduce the negative effects of using your device at night.
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