MacBook Pro's Liquid Retina XDR display supports reference modes and fine tuning

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With the introduction of Liquid Retina XDR display technology on MacBook Pro, Apple is now able to offer professional users options to create and use reference modes customized for specific color workflows.

Apple's redesigned 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are the first to boast Liquid Retina XDR displays, hardware that opens the door to capabilities previously reserved for the pricey Pro Display XDR.

Featuring mini-LED backlighting and Apple's typical color-accurate panels, MacBook Pro's display is capable of rendering HDR content with particularly high brightness and contrast ratios. ProMotion technology adds dynamically variable refresh rates up to 120Hz for smooth scrolling and fluid graphics. While the company's marketing material notes that video editors can select from a fixed refresh rate to match their footage, not much has been said about the laptop's color reproduction options.

According to a newly published support document, MacBook Pro comes with a variety of preset reference modes that accommodate certain work environments and standard media production workflows for video, photography, web and print. Most presets were previously available to Pro Display XDR users.

"You can use the reference modes included with your display to match the production requirements of HDR, HD, SD video, and other media types. Each reference mode sets the color space, white point, gamma, and brightness on your display," Apple says.

MacBook Pro's default is "Apple XDR Display (P3-1600 nits)," which is based on the wide color P3 primaries commonly seen in Apple displays, but with new support for "Extreme Dynamic Range (XDR)" output up to a peak of 1600 nits. Other selections include modes for HDR video, digital cinema with two whitepoint options, design and print with a D50 whitepoint, and web with an sRGB color space.

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2021 MacBook Pro


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Users can also create their own presets with color gamut, white point, SDR transfer function, gamma boost, PQ transfer function and maximum luminance variables. Custom reference modes can enable HDR content to the screen and limit luminance to full screen, the latter of which is required for fine tuning white point and luminance on MacBook Pro.

Apple launched the redesigned 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models last week. Along with Liquid Retina XDR displays, the laptops feature powerful and efficient Apple Silicon chips, an assortment of ports, a 1080p camera, an improved keyboard with function keys, MagSafe 3, audio enhancements and more.