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?