All iPads Is the 4:3 aspect ratio here to stay? Or is 16:9 the future?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by gdourado, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. gdourado macrumors 6502


    Apr 22, 2010
    How are you?
    So, I was wondering this...
    For four generations, Apple has kept the 4:3 aspect ratio of the ipad and personally I think it is the right move, as it has usability and ergonomic strengths over the competition....

    But just like there was a time when tvs and computer displays where 4:3 but then moved to 16:9, will the same happen with the ipad?

    Apple has already changed the Iphone aspect ratio...

    I really hope they don't, but when mobile operating systems evolve to true multi tasking and resizable application windows, like computers, can the ipad go 16:9?


  2. Dulcimer macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    Personally, I prefer the 4:3 aspect ratio because it's great for webpages, books, magazines, etc. Doing these things on a 16:9 tablet screen is somewhat limiting. Only when you're watching a widescreen video is the 16:9 ratio better.

    Will they change it? I don't see them doing it any time soon. I think the true intention of the iPhone's screen change was for added screen area, with Apple realizing that they could hit two birds with one stone by also upgrading to a 16:9 ratio while still maintaining the width they wanted.
  3. Ipadlover29 macrumors 6502a

    May 28, 2011
    I also prefer 4:3 on my ipad since I use mostly for reading. I've tried other tablets that were 16:9 and found them too narrow in portrait mode. 16:9 is great if you mostly watch videos or play games.
  4. raccoonboy macrumors 6502a

    Oct 22, 2012
    16:9, i can not say that it make or not make a difference in gaming experience as the screen only gets wider viewing on landscape game play. Ur character still port the same size.

    I hope Ipad remain same ratio, also apple doesn't want to annoy developers too much after the iphone 5 adjustment.
  5. xofruitcake macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2012
    If you watched IPad mini launch event where Apple compare IPad mini with Nexus 7 and the focus on 275,000 IPad apps, it should be very clear that Apple will stick with 4:3 ratio. If Apple move to 16:9, it will loss all the advantage over Android. no way they are that stupid..
  6. nishishei macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2005
    So long as our letter paper is close to 4:3, a truly versatile tablet should be that ratio too. I've yet to read a scientific journal or textbook that is printed on legal size paper.

    Believe it or not, some of us do real work on our iPads besides watching YouTube videos all day.
  7. OldRhodie macrumors member

    Nov 10, 2012
    I certainly hope Apple sticks with 4:3 as it's the best for general purpose use.
  8. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    For all the uses I can think of for an iPad, video viewing is the only thing that would benefit from a 16:9 display because of widescreen TV ratios. But even at 16:9 you're going to have black bars on a lot of movies because they're in other ratios and in older TV shows because they were made in 4:3.

    Meanwhile, you've got about 275,000 apps built for the iPad size. If you have a magazine taking up the full screen, it fits perfectly and is maybe just an inch smaller than the print product. If you were to just elongate the screen like the iPhone 5, publishers would probably either add some navigation or some other not-so-useful stuff to fill the space.

    I think it's here to stay on the iPad. I think the change on the iPhone was to get more real estate without going wider.
  9. wrkactjob macrumors 65816


    Feb 29, 2008
    I can't see it going 16:9 though wish it would.

    I really just want a dedicated movie device, really liked the shape of the Nexus 7 and Samsung Galaxy Tab2 7.0 but didn't like Android.

    I think 16:9 would reflect badly on the other things the ipad mini does, I'd be happy to put up with those things but others wouldn't.

    Also loved how the other two device would slip into the rear pocket of my Levi 501's. :)
  10. twotwo11 macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2010
  11. Scarpad macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2005
    I think I'd prefer sticking to 4x3 for all the above reasons, and I watch alot of older tv shows on the device so 4x3 is great for them, and I can always zoom the letterbox ones.
  12. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Asking this question here is begging for an abundance of the Apple-endorsed answer. Apple has deemed 4:3 as the one and proper screen ratio... so it is. If Apple then decided that 16:9 was the new one and proper screen ratio and you posted this question a month or so after that change, then most of these posts touting 4:3 as the best aspect ratio for tablets would be doing the same for the 16:9 version.

    See the before and after comments about Apple-endorsed choices such as:
    • PowerPC chips vs. Intel
    • No facetime in iPad1 vs. facetime in iPad2
    • 720p Max in :apple:TV1 & 2 vs. 1080p in :apple:TV3
    • old iPhone screen format vs. the new taller (but not wider) one
    Etc. In short, the way Apple appears to endorse is THE one, correct way... until Apple shifts it's endorsement... and then the new way is THE one, correct way. We'll spin and spin the rationalizations to support whatever Apple endorses and then flip with Apple when Apple flips. Then, we'll spin the new way as if we always thought it was THE way.

    Since this is an iPad section, I point anyone doubting this to the iPad 1 launch posts where there was fierce defense of Apple's choice to NOT include a front-facing camera in the first generation. "How would I hold it steady?", "Why would Skype people want to look up my nose", "It makes no sense to include a camera for video chatting in this thing", etc. Then, one year later, Apple rolls out facetime and some of the very same people are "Shut up and take my money", "I'm already in line to buy one", etc touting facetime as if it was the second coming.

    All that said, I own a new Mini and am quite happy with it (and it's screen "as is"). I could easily make the same case of how 4:3 is a great choice. However, 16:9 is mainstream and Apple going that way would probably result in a lower bill of costs (which might help get prices down a bit across the line). 16:9 could yield a thinner device that still had a lot of screen space. Virtual keyboard could get larger or the spacing of virtual keys could widen a bit more. Wide-screen movies & TV shows would fill more of that screen rather than being significantly pinched on the 4:3 (yes, you can zoom to fill but then you are chopping off a good amount of the left & right). More of longer web pages could be on screen at the same time in portrait mode (less scrolling). Apps that favor 4:3 output such as page-oriented apps could shift controls to the left or right of the page so that the page could go edge-to-edge (instead of having nav options squeezed in above & below a page); such apps might also be able to do some side-by-side page presentations (2 up) which might look just fine on a "retina" 16:9. And so on.

    Of course, all that makes no sense/"is stupid" because Apple has decided that 4:3 is THE correct ratio for a tablet. But check back after Apple would change it's mind and the chorus will then sing the praises of the new change (see iPhone 5 stretch when it was a rumor: "stupid", "Apple doesn't want Android-like fragmentation", "Apple doesn’t want another screen size to make things more difficult for developers" and after: "this is way better than my old iPhone", "it's so much nicer to have the extra screen space for ___________", etc.).
  13. iwan073 macrumors regular


    May 1, 2011
    The Netherlands
    I think on a tablet, I like the 4:3 better. It kinda looks awkward to hold a 16:9 tablet in portrait mode. Plus it gets top heavy.
    But then again, in the two weeks I've owned my iPad, I never used it in portrait mode...
  14. rocknblogger macrumors 68020


    Apr 2, 2011
    New Jersey
    Spot on. I couldn't agree more. I see this kind of flip-flopping all the time. It's actually very tiring and prohibits intelligent debate most of the time.
  15. darngooddesign, Nov 30, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012

    darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    My iPhone 5 isn't 4:3.

    And after using it after years of previous iPhones I can say that 4:3 is ideal for larger screens. The only reason why the phone is different is because I'm viewing different content and Safari's full screen mode.

    If all you do is watch videos 16:10 is better, but there is imperical evidence comparing browsing on both screen shapes and 4:3 is superior. Viewing magazines and PDFs on 4:3 are superior as well.


    As you can see from this, in portrait you see almost the same amount of the website on the Mini as you do on the N7; however, you see significantly less of the website in landscape mode. (See attachment)

    The screen length of the Mini and Nexus 7 are almost exactly the same, which means that videos aren't pinched on the Mini. The greater black bars on the Mini might make it look more pinched but in reality it the videos display att he same size on both devices. Don't forget that videos not shot in widescreen, which is most home movies, display larger on the Mini.

    Attached Files:

  16. bufffilm, Nov 30, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012

    bufffilm Suspended


    May 3, 2011
    Hate to disappoint, but not all here are mindless Apple fanboys.

    I've long preferred 4:3 displays and continue to use them both at work and at home. In fact, I have a stockpile of several extra displays at home in case any need to be replaced. And I still hang on to two older laptops (x31 and x61s) which are 4:3 display models and take those with me on personal travel/vacation when I don't need a lot of cpu horsepower.

    I grudgingly bought a 16:10 laptop (Lenovo X200 and X201) a couple of years back when I needed a more powerful machine but refuse to buy any more laptops since Lenovo moved to 16:9 displays like most the rest.

    So if Apple decided to abandon the 4:3 screen, I'd probably run out and buy the last 4:3 gen ipad to keep as a spare and use the heck out of that and my ipad2 until they croaked or they could no longer do what i use it for. since i use it 80% of the time for reading content, I could probably continue to go for years as long as the battery could hold a decent charge.
  17. HobeSoundDarryl, Nov 30, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    I appreciate the rationality and "empirical evidence". My point is that if iPad had launched at 16:9, we would all have rational and irrational supporting "evidence" ready to post that supports why 16:9 makes the most sense for a tablet.

    That's how things work here. Again, go back to iPad 1's launch and look at the endless arguments against those of us who believed it should have launched with a front-facing camera. There seemed to be a 1000 reasons why such a camera made absolutely no sense in an iPad... until iPad 2 with facetime... and then it made perfect sense (to some of the very same people who argued against it in iPad 1).

    Go back to before :apple:TV3 when there were 1000 spins of rationalization why 720p was "good enough" and how 1080p made no sense, needed national bandwidth to be in place or it would crash the Internet, "the chart", etc... until :apple:TV3 with 1080p launched... and then the "720p is good enough argument" seemed to nearly completely evaporate (and some of it's former, loudest allies flipped to gushing about the wonders of 1080p).

    PowerPC was far superior to Intel in every way... until Apple switched... and then PowerPC was outdated/slow/old.

    One of the best versions of this is arguments for/against retina raging right now because Apple split on it in 2 new products. Go back to iPad 2 & 1 threads and there was virtually no gripes about screen resolution. The comments about those screens used words like "incredible", "sharp", "crisp", "I can't believe it". Then, iPad 3 brings retina and the 1 & 2 screens are suddenly "fuzzy", "poor", etc. Now we have a split of "retina or bust" vs. "don't need retina", "fuzzy" vs. "good enough", "headaches" vs. "I can't see much difference", etc.

    The longer but not wider screen of iPhone was "stupid", "Apple would never fragment it's screen", "Apple would not add another screen for developers" when it was a rumor, then it was "best iPhone 5 screen ever" when Apple actually rolled it out.

    If 4:3 was universally better, why did the iPhone stray from it? Why is the iMac not 4:3? Why does the :apple:TV push something other than 4:3 out to the HDTV that is not 4:3? And it's not just "better for video". I- for one- read/browse/create/etc just fine on my wide-screen iMac. I can't imagine I would be able to do non-video-playback things better on that iMac if it was cut to a 4:3 screen. In fact, I sometimes wish it was even wider to give me a bit more horizontal screen space for my work.

    I look at it like this (and note I own an iPad myself and like it just fine): if 4:3 is actually better for most things and Apple rolled out a 16:9 iPad, content better suited for 4:3 could be scaled into a 4:3 layout within that wider/taller frame. Retina would make that work just fine. You could even do 2-up (2 4:3 pages) side by side. Navigation could shift to the free space so that a 4:3 target could take up the entire height of the space top-to-bottom (no trimming it to fit in UI options). On the other hand, when you have some content better suited for 16:9, you can't stretch the physical boundaries out to accommodate that target.

    I realize that I might be in the minority but I've been shooting my home movies in 16:9 since at least 2006. Just about all consumer HD camcorders sold since around that time have been 16:9. iMovie 2006 pretty much favored 16:9 (though still worked with 4:3) too.
  18. darngooddesign, Nov 30, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012

    darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    My, and I suspect most people's, usage of the iPhone is different than the iPad. While I use the iPad equally in both orientations, I mostly use the iPhone in portrait so the benefits of the taller screen outweigh the negatives of it being narrower.

    The aTV is primarily for video so 4:3 makes less sense than a widescreen format.

    I also create just fine on my MBP, which is not 4:3. Want to know why that is different? My MBP does not force my applications to full screen and scale to contents to the width of the screen. Currently My browser window is close to 4:3 and I have other applications occupying the rest of the screen; is that really the same as the iPad?
  19. TJ61 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 16, 2011
    16:9, 16:10, whatever it takes.

  20. mantan macrumors 68000

    Nov 2, 2009
    This is SO true.

    Like all the people who looked down their nose at the idea of anything smaller than the original iPad form factor who now claim the iPad Mini is the PERFECT size......
  21. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    To be fair, prior to 2007 most people thought phones should have physical buttons as well.
  22. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    Agreed 100%

    I'm sure it's not to hard to find old posts from certain members of this forum stating that Apple would, not in any way produce a smaller tablet.

    Mainly because "God" had decreed it would we too small, with some childish comment about having to file your fingers down.

    Well, looks like they disobeyed God.

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