Did Apple just give their users 10 bit color at the monitor? Is it usable on older systems?

  Display Type: LCD
  Resolution: 2560 x 1440
  Pixel Depth: 32-Bit Color (ARGB8888)
  Main Display: Yes
  Mirror: Off
  Online: Yes

  Built-In: Yes

              See the type just above? It's from my system profile on my 27 inch Apple iMac. Look down to the
              third line. It shows the pixel depth for the monitor to be 32-bit. This is one of the changes that Apple's new system software (10.11.1), El Capitan, delivers. That might mean that we're now getting 10 bit per channel color! I love the idea of it but have no idea yet whether the increased bit depth is only available in Apple programs like Photo and Preview and not PhotoShop, etc., but I'll wait to hear from our more technical and enlightened readers before I stumble into meaningless conjecture and outright Male Answer Syndrome.

                     Intersting, yes?


Ugo said...

My 13" MacBook Air with Yosemite (10.10.5) is just the same.

Ira said...

I think the extra 8-bits are for the alpha channel (the A in ARGB8888).

Jeroen Pulles said...

My 2010 macbook pro with Yosemite also says 32bit ARGB. The extra 8 bit over the regular 24 bits would be for alpha transparency. But I've also heard that support for 10 bit is coming. Here's a screenshot for a 10 bit display: https://www.cinema5d.com/5k-imac-10-bit-color/

Patrick Dodds said...

If you can't tell, doesitt matter? Probably I'm missing something fundamental...

Roland said...

p3 color gamut right? http://blog.conradchavez.com/2015/10/26/a-look-at-the-p3-color-gamut-of-the-imac-display-retina-late-2015/

Anonymous said...

Lloyd Chambers said: "I like dealing with facts from a reputable source. And here that is, from my contact at Adobe:

Apple added 30-bit support for 10.11. It only works on certain displays and it works better on their 5K displays (even better on the latest gen iMac).

The next update for PS will support 30-bit color on Mac."


Cpt Kent said...

For what it's worth, if I view this:


On my 2014 retina iMac, and on my new retina iPad mini, both with the latest update, I get noticeably better results on the iPad, especially with regards to smoother transitions / less banding on the gradients. It looks more or less like I would expect it to. Quite nice.

The iMac file (as view with either photos or preview) doesn't appear much different to what it did with Yosemite. The 2015 retina iMac I would expect to be better, but I don't have one on hand to check.

Mark Davidson said...

All I know is that the images I obsess over on my calibrated monitor to eke out the last bit of color perfection (ha) look like yesterday's lunch once they hit the web.

Cpt Kent said...

Having said that... other files do show a difference. For example, if I view this:


In photoshop, v's in preview, I get much better results in preview.

My guess is that preview supports 10 bit, my version of PS doesn't, and that the 2015 iMac retina will still be ahead of the 2014 one because of it's wider gamut.

typingtalker said...

From the Apple iMac specs page ...

"◾5120‑by‑2880 resolution with support for millions of colors"

I guess that's all you need to know.

Bruce Rubenstein said...

FWIW, an unintended consequence of El Capitan is that the firmware update program for Olympus cameras will no longer work. https://www.mu-43.com/threads/80651/ : "it will not work because Olympus uses a kernel extension that is installed to the wrong place and which is also not correctly signed (!). El Capitan treats this as potential malware and will not load it.

It may be possible to make it work by disabling the OS unsigned-kext protection (rootless / System Integrity Protection), however doing so is probably unwise as it bypasses one of the main reasons for running 10.11 in the first place.

Apple first announced that these changes were coming two years ago, so Olympus really should be kicked for not updating their code (although the Olympus driver is very very old and appears to emulate an antique SCSI disk drive!)."

So much for Olympus' support of professional photographers, who are the ones most likely to be using Apple products.

William Beebe said...

This is from Thom Hogan: http://bythom.com/:

Short comment: it’s now been verified that the latest iMacs (plus the 2014 iMac Retina and the MacPro) support 10-bit graphics drivers (the latest iMacs also support the wide DCI-P3 Color Space). The only software I know of that takes advantage of this expanded color capability at the moment is Preview and Photos, but I doubt it will be long before we see more.