Are you saying that with IC, I can do little, leave room and come back and have better calibration than with xrite/ DC? (as with Artisan)
Too many variables to say if the result will be better... that depends a lot on the screen BUT, It's the same amount of work after you've plugged in all the settings the very first time. Subsequent times you just launch the application, press the "profile" button and when you come back your luminance will be calibrated and the screen profiled. Nothing more to do (well... quit the application and start working).
No reason then to have the software provided by xrite/DC correct?
In my opinion yes. I haven't used any other software since I switched to Color Eyes a few years ago (aside from an occasional test to see if anything has improved with a subsequent revision but as of now, CEDP is still king). The exception I'm finding is SpectraView II but that's only available to NEC monitors that support it. Spectraview does a very nice job too. I will continue to use CEDP on my non-NEC monitors though.
I may have been lucky and just received a good copy? I'm not sure. I can say that my Spyder 3 works quite well. Color wise it covers beyond Adobe RGB in the greens but it's not as good as the SpectraView modified i1v2 in the blues (the model that ships with the SpectraView package is in theory modified to support wide gamut displays, I haven't tested a regular i1v2 from the factory though so I'm not sure how it would compare to a factor i1v2).
There was an article in another thread which Czornyj posted which was quite interesting, basically it a was a study of 20 samples of various colorimeters to see how consistent they were. The conclusion was that visually they all produce results close enough that the human eye can't distinguish between the generated profiles but for scientific work (for the purpose of tracking consistency) they were not accurate enough (depending on how "real world" is defined that's something I would dispute because I can see differences in the profiles generated... they are subtle and might be considered small enough to not have an impact on a final print but I can see them).
I can tell you that there is quite a dramatic difference in the values that each of my pucks report... If I calibrate the NEC to D65 and then measure it with the DTP94, the DTP94 will report a color temp of 7400 and if I measure with the Spyder 3 it will report a color temp of about 5600ºK so the objective numbers are WILDLY inconsistent (and luminance differs as well by up to 15 cd/m^2) BUT, if I do the initial cal with the i1v2 (or any other colorimeter for that matter) and then use the measure feature to get the color temp and the luminance subsequent profiles with other pucks will be really close.
this will all work good with new imacs?
Integrated Color just released an update to support Snow Leopard. There's a few folks who are running into issues on SL but I think those are installation issues from folks who already had CEDP installed in a previous version of OS X (at least I believe that's the case as creating a completely new user profile with Administrative privs and installing it seems to solve previous installation issues they had).
When installing CEDP make sure you do install it from an account that has Administrative privileges otherwise you will run into some issues (once installed though there are no issues using it with a regular user account).
I'm using CEDP on my 17" MBP which shipped with my laptop and I've not run into any problems at all. I'm still on 10.5.8 on my workstation.
You don't think the factory provided software with eye one will do the job well, and (this is new to me -- I've only had artisan) -- I'd have to fiddle a lot more with factory supplied software than with IC software.
For clarity are you talking about the software that shipped with the Artisan or the i1 puck? I can't speak to the Artisan but with regards to the Eye One Match software vs. CEDP, if you're viewing a print under a full spectrum 4700ºK Solux Bulb at the proper distance and you have the same image up on screen and you're running a soft proof with the proper profile loaded, the CEDP generated result matches the print MUCH better than the Eye One Match result in my experience. I've seen this on a number of different monitors with prints sourced from a number of different labs. I've introduce a few photographers in my area to CEDP and once they see the difference they've never switched back. The difference between CEDP and Eye One Match is a MUCH bigger difference than say the difference between an i1v2 and a Spyder 3. Specifically CEDP seems to be far more accurate when it comes to representing shadow detail and having that density actually match up with what you see on a print with a proper full spectrum light source.