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4/14/2009
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Apple Alternative Offered For Mac Cinema Display

Collins America's CinemaView products are scheduled to be available in three models: 19 inches, 21 inches, and 24 inches.




Collins America's CinemaView display.

First it was the attack of the Psystar Mac clone. Now a computer monitor company wants a slice of Apple's computer monitor business.

Collins America on Tuesday said by Sept. 1 it plans to ship LCD displays for the Mac that would sell at a fraction of the cost of Apple's Cinema Display. Standalone monitors already work with Apple computers, but the CinemaView is the first to have a similar look, feel, and feature set to the Cinema Display product line.

Collins' CinemaView looks similar to the Apple product, with a thin aluminum frame and glass screen. CinemaView, however, has a black rubberized composite rear housing while the Apple display is gray aluminum.

Like the Cinema Display, the Collins system uses Apple's Mini DisplayPort connector in becoming a much larger screen for the MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air. The displays also can be used with the Mac Mini and Mac Pro desktops. But while the Cinema Display is only available with a 24-inch screen, the CinemaView is scheduled to be available in three models, 19 inches, 21 inches, and 24 inches.

Another major difference is in price. The Apple Cinema Display sells for $899, while the same size CinemaView sells for $499. The 21-inch model sells for $399, and the smallest version cost $299. Collins is taking orders for the products now, and is promising ground shipping at no additional charge.

Other specifications of the Collins displays include three USB 2.0 ports. The product also comes with a single 1.2 meter cable for connecting to a Mac. The CinemaView also comes with a one-year limited warranty.

The additional money, Apple packs more features on its product. Unlike its competitor's product, Apple's Cinema Display uses an LED backlight for better picture quality at a resolution of 1,920 by 1,200 pixels. The 24-inch LCD CinemaView has a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels. Along with three USB 2.0 ports, the Apple display also has a built-in camera, microphone, and speakers.

Apple is no stranger to competition. The company's strategy of charging a premium for its innovative design has sometimes left it vulnerable to rivals with cheaper products.

Apple keeps tight control over its Mac platform, which the computer maker doesn't license to other manufacturers. Nevertheless, that hasn't stopped others from challenging Apple. Computer maker Psystar is selling Mac desktop clones that have sparked a lawsuit from Apple, which has asked a San Francisco federal court to order Psystar to recall every clone it has sold. Apple accuses the company of copyright violation by selling computers with its Mac operating system. The case is pending.


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