Apple Should Support Rotating Monitors

Opinion: Photographers may love Macs, but they are sick of editing vertical images on horizontal screens or turning their monitors on their sides.

Apple is my favorite computer manufacturer, but I have a major graphics problem with them. At the risk of seeming trite, Im kinda vertical, and theyre very horizontal. This is literal; its not computer marketing jargon about their solutions integration. Its the screen, stupid!

I take a lot of portrait-formatted pictures. These people tend to be pretty much always vertical, which makes their clothes "fall" better. Now, when I retouch these pix on my Mac, with a stock graphics card, I have, yes, this little problem of wasted screen area.

As it stands, I use a pivoting 21" monitor, the Samsung 213T. Its cheap, has decent color and good uniformity, and does all right as a photographers display. It also costs about half as much as an Apple 23". However, unfortunately, Mac OS does not support screen pivoting, unlike the PC, on which it can be implemented with third-party software.

Some ATI retail cards do have this feature, hardware accelerated, under the name Versavision. In fact, Apple supplies OEM versions of these cards, like the ATI Radeon 9600, which came slotted in place on my pricey professional Dual 2.5 top-of-the-line machine. However—you guessed it—screen rotation is disabled on the cards you get when you buy a Mac.

Weve reached the point in my article where my frustration turns into paranoia. First, Ill make my frustration clearer, and describe my personal workaround; then Ill explain why I think Apple does this, and last Ill indicate that theres a safety valve, namely buying an Eizo monitor.

My frustration stems from a few hours of retouching with Photoshop on a rotated monitor. Using a mouse is hopeless in these cases, as a sideways-turned mouse makes the cursor skittle crazily like escaping prey.