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Spotty apples

Look closely at your computer monitor. See an uninterrupted wave of windows and icons? Or any blips? Any tiny floating green dots?

If you do, you've got a 'dead pixel' problem. Assembling an LCD screen is an expensive business, and many brand-new screens already have a couple of pixels that are broken in one way or another. Manufacturers check screens, but with the difficulty of getting it perfect they simply can't afford to throw away every screen with a dodgy pixel or two. So they set guidelines for 'acceptable levels' of dead pixels on brand-new screens.

Now, thanks to a leak, we know what Apple's dead pixel guidelines are. And for the most part, they're actually pretty reassuring. For an iPod Touch or iPhone, the acceptable number of dead pixels is zero - just one imperfection gets your device repaired or replaced. For an iPad, with its larger 9.7-inch screen, the acceptable number is 2 pixels.

But for larger Macs, the acceptable number is much higher - up to fifteen pixels can be broken before you get the right to a repair. In fairness, modern large-screen Macs - the fifteen-pixel rule applies to Macs with a screen 22 inches or larger - have a lotof pixels, so it's only fair. Nevertheless, it's pause for thought if you're thinking about spending over a grand on a shiny new Macintosh only to find ten or twelve dead pixels smack in the middle of the screen.

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