Updated: Is the backlight supposed to be blue? | iLounge News


Updated: Is the backlight supposed to be blue?

A new photo has been submitted by the same reader that started us on the blue backlight journey. This new photo shows a direct comparison of a new 30GB and a 15GB iPod. Click “Read more” for photo.

“Here is a comparison picture of my 30GB that I got about four days after its release, and a 15GB that was just shipped a few days ago. Both have the backlight on. It is very obvious that the backlight is white and dim on the left “older” 30GB iPod, and bright and blue on the right newer one [15GB]. Also the screen is MUCH clearer on the newer new iPod (although not in the picture, I took it with my Palm Zire71!).”


In our ongoing saga of “Is it white or is it blue?”, iLounger, Matthew S. emailed us the following:

“There are three photos of a 20GB iPod, using varying white balances.  ‘blue1’ is done using the ‘flash’ white balance preset (tungsten 4000K? I didn’t look it up), though without actually using the flash, ‘blue2’ using the ‘automatic’ white balance, and ‘calibrated’ done using calibrated white balance (uses a 50% grey card to set white balance appropriate to the conditions).  They were all shot with a Nikon D100 camera. (Click ‘Read more’ for the full report.)”




“The difference is pretty striking, and you’ll note that even in the manually calibrated version, there is a slight blue tint to the backlight - this is entirely expected as blue is the dominant colour in “white” LEDs.  The precise temperature of the LED varies widely between manufacturers (just try out a couple of different white-led flashlights to see).

The screen also appears quite blue to the naked eye when viewed from even a relatively slight angle.

The moral of the story: there are too many factors involved to make a realistic comparison.  Viewing angle, LED manufacturer, the camera’s white balance, ambient lighting conditions, and simply people’s varying perception of color.  Some iPods probably are blue, but the variations displayed are much more likely to be due to one or two of those reasons than they are to Apple creating a new hardware revision.”

An anonymous iLounger sent us an interesting bit of news about the latest new iPods and LCD backlight. Click here for a photo comparison.

“Yesterday at work (I work at the Apple Store) I had to put out another of the new iPods for demo on the floor (a 15GB). And to my surprise, it was different than every other iPod already out, and different than every one I have seen, including my own 30GB.

The screen was MUCH clearer. It appears to be the promised “new high resolution” screen. I turned the contrast way down and it was still quite visible and clear. And the kicker is that the backlight is BLUE (as promised and as is on the box) and not white. I held the “new” 15GB next to the “old” 15GB and it is quite obvious there is a new, better screen. It is SO much better than the iPods released a few weeks ago. I don’t know if all iPods being shipped have this new screen and backlight but I sure hope so. It is a much better screen.”

Our new 15GB has a white backlight as specified on Apple’s iPod Spec page, but the box and this iPod webpage indicates an iPod has a blue backlight. Is it just Apple’s way of enhancing the advertising photos for advertising’s sake? Or, are the new iPods supposed to have a blue backlight? Does your iPod have a blue backlight? Send us a photo.

Submitted by a reader. Not the same Apple Store iPod as mentioned above. (15GB iPod)

iLounge photo. (15GB iPod)

« PvP comic features iPod

Your Mac Live show talking iPods »

Related Stories



More and more interesting.  I’m positive that the “high resolution” is misspeak for “high contrast”.  Take a look at old Palm handhelds; my first one (Palm III) was barely visible compared to my Palm Vx, although the resolution and dot pitch were the same. 

I think I’m glad I’ve waited to purchase (‘cause I still don’t know if i need 15 or 30).

Posted by Nightfly on May 21, 2003 at 2:17 PM (CDT)


I’m just kidding guys it was me all along. BTW I think this is a conspiracy against the Apple customers. if they would just give us the blue backlights like we were PROMISED i would be happy to camp.

Posted by phester on May 21, 2003 at 2:23 PM (CDT)


Seems like Apple is straightening out iPOD’s!!! Because i ordered mine 2 weeks ago on small dog and its been on back order since.  I guess apple isn’t restocking them because they are making a new batch of blue!!! And for any one with a completely blue iPOD, does it say Blue backlight for the specs on the side of the box ? Or this color just a wonder ful defect? Either way, i’ll prolly end up with BLUE BLUE BLUE!!! waiting pays off!!!

Posted by tdf22 in sdfsdf on May 21, 2003 at 2:54 PM (CDT)


For some reason, I doubt that Apple would be making two different batches of iPods.

Posted by Darkbandit in Charleston, SC on May 21, 2003 at 2:57 PM (CDT)


Backlight, schmacklight.  I was just upset these new iPods weren’t black with red glowing buttons.  I would bend and bend for a black iPod.

Posted by Bender in Earth on May 21, 2003 at 3:32 PM (CDT)


hey whoever you are out there… stop usin my name ‘phester’. Bugger off and be yourself.

Posted by phester in TX on May 21, 2003 at 4:52 PM (CDT)


If anyone is really disapointed with the resolution/contrast/tint of their iPod, please send it to me. Thanks.

Posted by Richard on May 21, 2003 at 4:59 PM (CDT)


ok, this has to stop. You ^^^^^^^^^^^ are the impersinator, and so is the person that you are talking about. I find this very childish, and most of us want the feature that everyone can talk. So please stop abusing it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by phester on May 21, 2003 at 5:00 PM (CDT)


I don’t really like the blue backlighted ipods. However, on the other hand, if it does lead to a screen which one can view in much more comfort and less stuggle, then I don’t think it’s that bad.

I hate the red lights that you see behind the buttons. Where did red ever come to be near apple? I think that the buttons should have had a blue backlight and the screen with an amazingly good white backlight and LCD display

Posted by guesty in somewhere over the rainbow on May 21, 2003 at 5:24 PM (CDT)


I just saw the Oprah episode “Oprah’s Favorite Things Spring” (it’s still going on now, but I’m not watching it anymore). She gave away clothes, glasses, electronics… She also gave away 15GB iPods (obviously). The guy demonstrated how it works, the backlight was BLUE! BLUE BLUE! It looked exactly like the picture on the top of this page (the pic on the right). Definately the blue on the box. I am convinced that Apple is now making blue-screened iPods. I will get mine back from Apple care tomorow, if they give me a new one I will report on the backlight.

Posted by mongoos150 in Tucson, AZ on May 21, 2003 at 5:54 PM (CDT)


Come on people who cares what color the screen is.  You should be happy that you have an iPod.  There`s alot of people that would do anything to have an iPod and we`re crying over the color of the backlight.  Something is wrong with us, just enjoy the player and stop crying.

Posted by Agustin Serna in Mardid, Spain on May 21, 2003 at 6:21 PM (CDT)


I have an OLD iPod (the 5GB kind). Pretty soon I’m gonna be opening it up as shown at ipodhacks.com and adding some light blue film gel to the screen so that it really does have a blue screen. Only a pure white backlight (as I think mine has) would be able to work well with such a hack.

My observations:

- Under a 100W tungsten light, the screen appears blue-gray.
- Under 25W fluorescent lights, the screen appears pink-white (more pink when hot, white when cold).
- In direct sunlight, it appears pure, cold white (unless the sun is too bright, in which case it does that funny inverse-color thing).
- Under a 300W halogen lamp, it appears purple-blue, almost indigo (but less saturated, obviously).
- In pitch darkness, it appears pure white except at the edges, where it is almost reddish.

In addition, tilting it towards the righ or downwards increases the pink, while tilting it to the left or upwards increases the blue color.

There ya go. Just for comparison to the old iPod. See what your new one does in these conditions.

Posted by Silvan in Here on May 21, 2003 at 6:26 PM (CDT)


Seriously, who ever is logging in as me, please stop! Its not cool!

Posted by phester on May 21, 2003 at 6:34 PM (CDT)


Most of us are not whining or anything, just pointing out that there is speculation towards a new screen. (I can see your point though, how a few users are in fact whining).

Posted by mongoos150 in Tucson AZ, USA on May 21, 2003 at 6:36 PM (CDT)


What happened was that Apple had a whole bunch of 15 inch PowerBooks left over that they wanted to get rid of so they can start selling the Aluminum books. So they took out the displays and cut them in pieces to fit the iPods. One display was good for 16 iPods. Since the PowerBooks had color displays the iPod appear to be blue. There is no screen color calibration in iPod OS to fix that but after next firmware upgrade they will show the songs in color! Wahoo!

Posted by Balooba on May 21, 2003 at 10:53 PM (CDT)



Posted by Darkbandit in Charleston, SC on May 21, 2003 at 11:23 PM (CDT)


I happened to be somewhere today and “Oprah” was on (i’n not gonna explain). Anyway some dude had an iPod and the screen was extremely blue. much bluer than my 30GB which appears blue under some lighting condidtions and varying levels of charge. It was blue. Normally you wouldn’t be able to see a backlight under all f those studio lights. It was BLUE.

Posted by SirBaesa on May 21, 2003 at 11:59 PM (CDT)


Alright, my newest experiment that I just did (2:45 in the morning that I did this btw.) My garage has some fluorescent lights that my dad put up a couple of years ago, so I took my iPod out there and turned the light switch on, and what do you know? It was a blue screen. When I turned it off, it went back to the original color. My curosity has been satisfied now, I don’t know if anyone else’s will or if anyone else will beleive me, but that’s what I saw like some others here.

Posted by Darkbandit in Charleston, SC on May 22, 2003 at 12:44 AM (CDT)


Hi all!
I’m disappointed in my new 15 gig ipod screen.. the text is not bold enough, like my old ipod.. I could see my old 10 gig ipod in normal lighting conditions, and still read all my menus and texts. With the new 15 gig.. I can’t do that, I have to have the backlight on.. and the screen seems sandy, washed out, and not cyrstal clear like the old ipod..

anyone else having this problem?

Posted by Tom in Los angeles CA on May 22, 2003 at 12:56 AM (CDT)


i’m going to pick up my new 15GB at my parents place in an hour,.. and i will check it than.. hope mine is blue.. :) but doesn’t matter if it’s white..

Posted by HS-L in utrecht/Holland on May 22, 2003 at 8:11 AM (CDT)

Page 3 of 6 pages  < 1 2 3 4 5 >  Last ›

If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods/iPhones/iPad or accessories, or if you sell or market iPod/iPhone/iPad products or services, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.
Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter


Recent News

Recent Reviews

Recent Articles

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter


iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2014 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy