Still 16:9 for the "Future" of MacBooks

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Amasashi, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. Amasashi macrumors member

    May 17, 2010
    I love the new Retina MacBook Pros, I really do. Ever since Apple introduced the MacBook Air and the Retina display on the iPhone 4, I truly believed this was the next logical step in the evolution of laptops. Everything about the new rMBPs is truly amazing, but one thing I can't believe is that Apple stuck with the old 16:10 aspect ratio for the screen.

    I know Apple has always been a step or two behind PC manufacturers when it comes to adopting new technology standards (USB 3.0, anyone?). But 16:9 has already been the standard for years, regardless of whether you like it or not. And it's not like Apple is insisting on a 16:10 ratio because they're clearly making the move to 16:9 in all their non-iOS products.

    Back in 2009, the iMacs were redesigned with a 16:9 display. MBAs are also 16:9. Even the new Apple Cinema Display is in 16:9 ratio. But the MBPs continue to sport 16:10. Why?

    I understand that the aluminum unibody enclosure was a breakthrough for Apple. Unlike some people, I don't mind at all that the MBP form factor has been the same since 2008 because I think it's perfect the way it is and I honestly wouldn't know how Apple could change it to make it better. I also understand that tweaking those huge industrial machines cost a substantial amount of money. That's why I put up with the MBP's 16:10 ratio and the low-resolution of the 13" model all these years.

    But now that Apple is introducing the rMBP as the future of the MacBook, and they took the effort to redesign the chassis so it's slimmer, rearranged the ports, and dug out some ventilation slots, would it have been so hard to also change the screen to 16:9? For all the talk of pixel for pixel HD rendering and however many pixels the new Retina display has over 1080p Full HD, they should have made the screen an HD ratio. After all, everything else in Apple's lineup already is.

    I know the 16:10 or 16:9 is a very minor difference and something you wouldn't even notice if you don't consciously think about it. I'm just disappointed about this laziness on Apple's part because the rMBP's form factor is going to be the same for the next couple of years, which means we'll once again be stuck with 16:10 until the next redesign. Nothing "future" about that.


    It should be 16:10 in the title. Typo.
  2. Moriarty macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2008
    You're probably in the minority that prefers 16:9. I like my vertical resolution. 16:10 is perfect (16:9 is OK in the iMacs because 1440 pixels high is quite a lot still. And the 30-inch panels seem a lot more expensive).

    16:9 panels in computers is purely a cost-cutting measure, with the added "benefit" of being a more "cinematic" ratio. In terms of work productivity, it's worse. That's why Apple is keeping the 16:10 ratio in all its Macbooks aside from the 11" Air (probably to keep the depth of the computer as small as possible).

    So I'm thankful that Apple appears to be sticking with 16:10 for the foreseeable future.
  3. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    Only the 11" Air and the iMac/27" displays are 16:9 right now. For the 11" Air, it makes sense because they wanted a full width keyboard in a small package.

    On the 27" displays, there's so much real estate that a bit less vertical real estate isn't that big of a deal.

    Do you want Apple to give you wider displays because it's better? Or do you want them because everybody else uses them? I personally much prefer 16:10 on a laptop.

    As I understand it would actually be cheaper to use the same 16:9 panels that everyone else is using because they're produced in more volume. I think this is also a factor with why they use 16:9 in the 11" Air (their cheapest laptop) and 21.5" iMac. For the same reason I doubt that keeping 16:10 with certain products is "laziness". In fact going with 16:9 panels because that's what everyone else is doing would seem like the lazy way out to me.

    What exactly is it about 16:10 that you "put up with"?
  4. pgiguere1 macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    16:10 allows bigger trackpads on the 13" models. They are also still the standard in the professionnal industry. Look at the high end models of any display manufacturer, they are mostly 16:10 while the entry level models are 16:9.

    I don't care what the trend is. 16:10 is more useful for productivity than 16:9, which is better for movies (which I don't watch on my laptop anyway).

    Why are you so concerned? Because every other company do it that way? Apple doesn't care about the rest of the industry.
  5. borisiii macrumors 6502

    Jul 4, 2010
    16:9 is good only for watching video. For just about everything else, extra screen height is useful. One of the companies I work with still supplies employees with 4:3 external monitors to attach to their work-issued laptops, which provides a great setup for productivity.
  6. Amasashi thread starter macrumors member

    May 17, 2010
    I tend to watch a lot of movies and TV shows on my MBP so it'd be nice to finally be able to get rid of those pesky black bars.

    Didn't realize that only the 11" Air is 16:9. I thought the 13" was as well. Thanks for clearing that up.
  7. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    In many movies they won't go away they just get smaller
  8. Ljohnson72 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 21, 2008
    Denver, Co
    Considering the fact that most new movies are filmed in 2.35:1 (or even wider), having a 16:9 screen will make no difference other than give you less vertical real estate
  9. djmoody macrumors regular

    May 13, 2012
    The Application Bar would really bother me if it was 16:9 if I wasn't watching them in true "full-screen"
  10. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    16x10 is way better for everything other than "watching movies"

    I'm super happy apple actually get that, unlike the rest of the PC industry.
  11. MindsEye macrumors regular

    May 3, 2010
    You're most likely in the minority, as someone mentioned above there is nothing "future" about 16:9 it simply cost less to mass produce than 16:10. personally, it stands as added incentive when compared to the rest of the industry, as i prefer to have more vertical screen real estate. 16:9 looks a little too squished and the smaller the monitor the worse it gets.

    I don't know what what media player you're using but you should be able to get rid of those black bars by altering the picture settings.
  12. NathanA macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2008
    Honestly, I still kind of miss 4:3 computer displays... :eek:

    -- Nathan

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