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This is an interesting and sometimes confusing question.
It has to do with different forms of color spaces and how a device renders color information.
Device Dependent refers to the CMYK gamut a printer/press can print to – it’s behavior. All printers/presses print differently, therefore they have Device Dependent profiles, or color gamuts. Basically, CMYK values for one device will print differently on another CMYK device. See the difference here between SWOP and GRACoL CMYK color profiles – these are device dependent profiles illustrated in the LAB color space.
Another device dependent also refers to between the difference in Adobe RGB and sRGB color profiles.
Device Independent refers to the LAB Color Space. LAB values (50,0,0 – neutral gray) are absolute values that have a known color value. This is the color sensation that are eye processes and how spectrophotometers communicate color values between devices.
The LAB Color Space is the common denominator in communicating color values in Color Management workflow.