In September Pantone released an iPhone application that “puts the power of the entire PANTONE Color Library in your pocket.” In the press release Andy Hatkoff, vice president of technology licensing for Pantone comments,
“myPANTONE marries the power of the iPhone with the inspiration of PANTONE Color Palettes, enabling designers to be creative whenever inspiration strikes them. Providing a digital, portable design studio and essential color tools at their fingertips, myPANTONE gives designers the freedom to access PANTONE Colors anywhere, without the need to be in their office or carry around cumbersome guides, Now with myPANTONE’s Portable Color Memory™ in their pocket, designers no longer need to agonize trying to recall an exact color.”
The Macintosh journal TidBITS has a walkthrough video of the app.
The Flemish Innovation Center for Graphic Communication (VIGC) recently conducted a study into the accuracy and reliability of the new myPANTONE for iPhone. The results of the study are at WhatTheyThink.
Andy Hatkoff contacted WhatTheyThink today to clarify the intended use of myPANTONE for iPhone and address the VIGC study. Hatkoff writes:
“You are quite correct when you state that the iPhone does not have a calibrated screen, although there seems to be a bit of confusion about the intended use of myPANTONE, which has resulted in the disappointment you expressed.
To clarify: we have NEVER positioned the myPANTONE app as a tool for accuracy in a color critical environment. In fact, we have provided disclaimers in several places in the myPANTONE app, including at the bottom of the product description on the iTunes app store. ANY app on the iPhone that uses color to its benefit (including photo apps) suffers from the same issue – the current iPhones cannot be calibrated and color therefore cannot be assured.
There exist differences on the displays between the various versions of the iPhone. For example: the first iPhones were set to a cooler white point that made the screen whiter and bluer, while subsequent versions use a warmer color temperature and different white point. On a computer, you are able to adjust your monitor’s color temperature to whatever suits you. The iPhone, being much less tweakable than a Mac or PC, doesn’t offer such a setting.
On the technical side, the Software Developer Kit (SDK) provided by Apple does not give us access to anything about the actual display except its size. At this point in time, the SDK does not offer the possibility to provide any control over the calibration of the display.
As a result, myPANTONE should not be used as a way to validate and approve color. MyPANTONE is a creative tool and not a production tool. It allows you to capture the idea of color with a cool mobile phone that is used broadly in the design community. You can then take that color and play with it, amend it and use it as inspiration in your design process. That’s what we intended when we developed myPANTONE. A PANTONE® Color guide should ALWAYS be used for an accurate representation of a color in a print environment, regardless of whether you use an app or a monitor in the design process.”