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)

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