Apple-sponsored study finds larger monitors can increase productivity

“Providing employees with 30-in. computer monitors can boost worker productivity at companies where 17- or 19-in. monitors are typically used, according to a French consultant hired for a study sponsored by Apple Computer Inc.,” Todd Weiss reports for Computerworld.

Weiss reports, “The study, which evaluated Apple’s 30-in. Apple Cinema Display, concluded that large screens can offer gains of up to 50% to 65% in productivity on a variety of specific office tasks and can earn back their extra costs in time savings over several years. The 30-in. display costs $1,999.”

Weiss reports, “But other experts say those conclusions are wrong, arguing that the productivity improvement estimates are too high and that using two monitors side by side would likely be a better productivity booster than one larger monitor. The 40-page study was conducted by Andreas Pfeiffer, principal of Paris-based Pfeiffer Consulting, for Apple, which paid for the research.”

Full article here.

Pfeiffer Consulting’s 40-page study “The 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display Productivity Benchmark” (PDF) is here.

MacDailyNews Take: Was a study really needed? Experience alone tells us it’s the increased screen area that matters, not whether that area increase is achieved via one monitor or multiple monitors; at least with a Mac. With the more inefficient Windows’ constant need to bring application menus along with each open window and it’s insatiable, vacuous lust for taking over the entire screen wherever possible, we can see where multiple monitors vs. a single large one would matter.

Mac users who are forced to use the doltish WIndows at work understand all too well. If you’ve ever seen the average Windows PC user trying to interact with multiple programs and the Windows OS, you know what we mean; it’s a frustrating experience for us to watch and for them to go through (even if they are blissful in their ignorance of the better Mac way). We prefer not to watch.

So, for a Mac, we believe it’s more about just increasing the screen area by whatever means possible, but for those handicapped with Windows, increasing the screen area with multiple monitors would probably work better than getting a single larger monitor.

And, yes, multiple 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays do trump all other options. However, that setup really does spoil you. You’ll long for them when on the road with just a “tiny” 17-inch MacBook Pro screen. wink

Related MacDailyNews article:
Apple cuts prices across entire Cinema Display line – August 08, 2006

35 Comments

  1. MDN, I’m glad that you were able to re-interpret this studies results and explain to us all what they “really meant.”

    Afterall, I’m sure that the study of “Steve Jack” is far more accurate than the study of those other experts..

  2. MDN, I’m glad that you were able to re-interpret this studies results and explain to us all what they “really meant.”

    Afterall, I’m sure that the study of “Steve Jack” is far more accurate than the study of those other experts..

  3. I work for a large engineering firm and was one of the first to utilize a dual monitor setup and my productivity shot through the roof but I hate windows with a passion and do not want to run bootcamp to run autocad on my next new Mac. Hello Autodesk………

  4. Wow. that banner ad for the red iPod at the top of this page sure does look an awful lot like a Target ad.. The red and white click wheel looks just like their logo. Perhaps a black or grey background might have been a better choice for a red iPod.

  5. I had to turn off Adblock Plus on Firefox to even see the ads. To my surprise the whole page has ads all over it that I never even saw! I wish Safari would implement something like that.

    To Gil: Does Autodesk work on a Mac? I have no experience with this at all but my cousin is in architecture school and she’s been roped into a Gateway by her school. I’d still like to find Mac friendly alternatives to feed her but I don’t know what’s available. Any thoughts?

  6. Resolution and widescreen vs. square screen really makes a difference too. I have a Dell at work that is 19″ and a 17″ iMac at home. I have more screen space on the iMac due to the video card and the widescreen aspect of the computer. I have a much easier time dealing with multiple programs when on a Mac.

    However, it should be noted that expose also makes the mac vastly superior to windows when using multiple programs. I wish windows had something like it so my work life would be much easier. Don’t start with the 3D flip thing in Vista. While the 3D thing looks cool it wouldn’t be as useful as expose when doing any real work. Seriously, one button click on my mouse to show all open windows (mac) vs. having to do a scroll through my open windows like a rolodex (windows).

  7. Because a cigarette company sponsored an ad pushing their product, and because Apple did the same thing, both results are necessarily bogus? Here’s a clue. Why don’t you look at the findings instead of attacking the messenger? It’s called critical thinking. Try it sometime.

  8. not to disagree… but do you think they would publish the resultes if the outcome was different ?

    You can comission a study to come out with whatever result you are looking for. Period.

    Now that’s not to say that larger monitors are not a boon to work… but I would question the motivation behind the study sponsered by Apple.

  9. Calm down, BustingTSOI.
    I’m just playing.

    I have a larger than normal screen and when i switched to it i sped up 2 fold. So I whole heartedly agree with this theory.
    I was just poking fun at the MDN headline.

    Safari will NEVAR have ad blockers built in. Ads are money. That is the realm of plug-ins.

  10. I think two screen works better than a large because I can keep one directly in front and the other tilted towards me otherwise you have to look at everything on the right at a bit of an angle. I also have no more problem working on a mac vs. a pc in terms of managing multiple windows. Both OSX and Windows gets unwieldy when you have 10 programs running. I’m not certain that expose makes a huge difference.

  11. To: Cap n’ Obvious:

    Yes, I too have seen that study. However, Marlboro prefers to use the term “Health-Sticks” rather than the often maligned “Cigarettes”. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  12. Oh me oh my!
    The iPod is gonna fry!
    My Zune’s the goon
    to change the tune
    of everyone’s favourite music playah.

    I can’t stop eating!!!
    I can’t stop eating my zunes!!!

    Yours truly,
    Steven Ballmer
    (Head of Microsoft)

  13. “And, yes, multiple 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays do trump all other options. However, that setup really does spoil you. You’ll long for them when on the road with just a “tiny” 17-inch MacBook Pro screen”

    Really. I was under the impression that Dell offerings were brighter, better and cheaper.

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