Tech industry analyst Paul Mueller claims that there are iPad prototypes at Apple with widescreen ratios. “I have talked to at least three people close to Apple who say that there are new iPad prototypes that have a 16:9 aspect ratio. They aren’t talking about the upcoming iPad mini either,” Mueller said in an interview. He added that he will have more information in the next couple of weeks.
The Examiner’s source at Apple neither confirms nor denies the rumor, but does hint at the possibility that it is true. “I haven’t really heard much about the iPad 4, but it appears that Apple is no longer against widescreen devices,” he said.
Switching to a widescreen aspect might seem to make sense for the iPad as Apple is already making that transition on the iPhone, but it might not necessarily work as well in execution as in theory. A 16:9 aspect ratio is better for watching videos, but that’s not the most common use for an iPad, and many other uses are better suited to the current 4:3 aspect that mimics paper.
An update to widescreen would also have to mean either making the tablet longer than the current 10 inches, or sacrificing horizontal screen space to keep the device from getting larger. It’s rare that devices go in the direction of larger, but it’s still a possibility.
When you consider the benefits versus the drawbacks, it is not clear whether or not a widescreen ratio would really be a good idea for the iPad, and many are still skeptical. We will just have to wait and see!