A 16:9 iPad? Analyst Says It’s Being Prototyped [Rumor]

A 16:9 iPad? Analyst Says It’s Being Prototyped [Rumor]

With the iPhone 5, Apple abandoned the existing aspect ratio of the iPhone (3:2) and embraced a true widescreen aspect display (16:9) instead. Now an analyst is saying that multiple people “close to Apple” have told him the iPad is going widescreen as well.

Industry analyst Paul Mueller says that having spoken to “at least three people close to Apple”, t’s a “fact” that Apple is currently prototyping a 16:9 widescreen iPad. The Examiner is corroborating, saying they have heard the same things themselves, and that “it appears that Apple is no longer against widescreen devices.”

I think this is bull. Apple prototypes a lot of different devices that never see the light of day. Furthermore, the reason Apple likely changed the aspect ratio of the iPhone 5 had less to do with making it “widescreen” than it has to do with isolating the LTE antenna. It’s a big problem with LTE that makes it hard to keep a signal in a device smaller than 4-inches. Since Apple didn’t want to make the device wider, the changed aspect ratio was a happy result of gaining LTE.

There’s no reason to do the same thing with the iPad. LTE’s already in the iPad, and working fine. Furthermore, the iPad’s 4:3 aspect ratio is designed to mimic a piece of paper, and for the vast majority of what people do with it — reading — that’s just fine. The display’s big enough that letterboxing videos isn’t really a big deal, and the iPad doesn’t have the same things to gain in regards to screen real estate that shifting to 16:9 would entail. 4:3 is simply a more flexible aspect ratio for a tablet, as Steve Jobs himself pointed out.

In addition, 16:9 would change the fundamental feel of the device in the hand: it would actually shrink, and text on the device would appear smaller when reading it in portrait and landscape mode. A 16:9 iPad with the same width would look just comically large.

I just don’t buy it. What do you think?

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  • Vertigo Bird

    It’s a terrible idea and would kill the usability of the iPad. As you point out, it’s a reading device. I hope the designers at Apple don’t forget this – it’s NOT an iPhone.

  • ejlenny

    Ew, I just threw up a little in my mouth.

  • monstermasten

    If this happens we need a new Apple in the industry. First iOS6, now this (?). Ugh..

  • Cortney Sauk

    I’m sure Apple has tons of versions of all their iOS devices… I’d be far more surprised if they didn’t and that they ‘magically’ create everything on the first try

  • Tallest_Skil

    If this happens we need a new Apple in the industry. First iOS6, now this (?). Ugh..

    I wanted to agree with you until you said “iOS 6″.

    Just shut up.

  • hic9582

    It makes a lot of sense if they come out with the smaller iPad. A 7 inch device is much easier to hold with one hand and navigate with the other. Using both an iPad and a Nexus 7 I can say that I prefer the 7 inch 16:9 form factor as opposed to a 1.5 pound ipad

  • coolman1081

    These claims seem about as valid as when everyone was convinced we’d get an iPad Mini.

  • Unis Zuurmond

    It doesn’t make sense on the 10″ iPad, as it resembles a sheet of paper, which people like. If there is a 7″ iPad mini, maybe it’s good, maybe not – and would they want to aspect ratios, one for the 10″ and a different one for the mini? It made perfect sense on smaller devices like the iPhone and iPod touch to change to 16:9 though.

  • rlowe

    Wow I would spend my money for this thing!!!

  • Franklin McMahon

    I hope the 7 inch goes to 16:9..I assume it will since Apple would want a uniform aspect ratio to all its devices eventually.

    You really have to hold the 7 inch Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7 to get the whole picture. The Kindle HD still feels large and unwieldy, whereas the Nexus 7 feels natural and much more portable.

    I think if Apple releases a 4:3 7 inch it will really not be that much different or dramatically smaller than the larger iPad, however a 16:9 version will be slim, more portable and run all new iPhone 5 apps without black bars. Plus design-wise it will be more dramatic, always something Apple gravitates towards.

    Most if not all of our entertainment screens (TV, movies, etc) are 16:9 so I can see entertainment devices going 16:9 as well.

    I have played with a Kindle HD and have a Nexus 7..and again…a 16:9 7 inch tablet seems much more portable and natural.

  • Tallest_Skil

    I hope the 7 inch goes to 16:9..I assume it will since Apple would want a uniform aspect ratio to all its devices eventually.

    The problem with that is that it’s a terrible idea. And so is a 7.85″ iPad.

    Different aspect ratios exist for different reasons. 16:9 is not an end all be all do all. It has absolutely no business being the size of my computer monitor. It has absolutely no business being my tablet. And I’m still not convinced it has any business being on my phone.

    16:9 is for video content. Period. It was created by the industry to artificially give people a reason for going to the theater after the adoption of the first televisions. I am SICK of it invading every single other electronic product on the market.

  • Graig Smith

    This is a terrible idea. the only thing it makes better is watching 16:9 video. it makes it worse for drawing, and reading.

  • Matthew Gonzales Landry

    This aspect ratio on the 9.7″ iPad would compromise the whole premise of what a 10″ tablet is. This aspect ratio on an undefined 7″ variant *could actually take advantage of the widescreen hype of the iPhone 5 and iPod touch. A seven-inch tablet can be longer because it’s still able to be held comfortably in either orientation. This rumor, however, has got to be the dumbest idea to fly with. Prototyping devices is what companies do. Apple, no doubt, knowingly prototypes bad ideas just to get a concrete idea of what something will be like.

  • technochick

    I might believe this if it wasn’t for

    1. This rumor has existed every year alongside the iPad pro one

    2. Prototype doesn’t mean it will ever be released. As we saw during the Samsung case

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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