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Monday, June 25, 2012, 02:11 pm PT (05:11 pm ET)

Retina display image retention reported by new MacBook Pro owners

Some early adopters of the new MacBook Pro with Retina display are experiencing image persistence issues with the laptop's high-resolution screen, prompting Apple to replace any possibly defective units.

A number of users have reported on Apple's Community Forums (via The Next Web) that their new MacBook Pro's Retina display suffers from image retention issues, sometimes incorrectly referred to as ghosting, though the problem is not believed to be widespread.

Mis-titled as a screen "burn-in" problem, the thread contains a number of identical instances of image persistence on the high pixel density IPS panels used in the recently-released MacBook Pro, though the true number of those affected could be greater as the problem may be too subtle for all but the most eagle-eyed users. As noted by forum members, the latent image is only noticeable on light-colored backgrounds and remains on the screen for some five minutes before slowly fading away.

Apple is apparently aware of the issue as Geniuses have ordered replacement units for the malfunctioning screens but in some cases owners have to wait two to three weeks due to high demand for the laptop.


Demonstration of image persistence on the new MacBook Pro Retina display. | Source: Wilson Chan


It has been speculated that the problems stems from a "bad batch" of panels since only a limited number of cases have been reported. The reason for the image retention is unknown and Apple has yet to officially comment on the issue. It should be noted that those who purchased the new MacBook Pro have the usual 14 days to initiate a "no questions asked" warranty return if they are experiencing the problem.

Image persistence, otherwise known as image retention, has been seen on other IPS panels is one of the main weaknesses of the display technology. Cheaper budget models are known to suffer from both image retention and ghosting, the phenomenon of having a second "ghost" image superimposed on the main image. Ghosting in digital displays is usually related to either de-interlacing or incorrect interpolation of frame pulldown.