Why Apple’s iPad Mini may go 16:9, like iPhone 5

“Assuming the photos and measurements recently posted at nowhereelse.fr of a physical model of the iPad Mini from GizChina turn out to be real, the iPad mini won’t have a 4:3 display like the full-size iPad,” Jason D. O’Grady writes for ZDNet.

“DisplayMate’s Dr. Raymond Soneira notes that Apple increased the iPhone’s aspect ratio — from 1.50 in the iPhone 4 to 1.78 in the iPhone 5 — and concludes that the same thing could happen with the iPad Mini, especially if it is positioned for selling TV content, which has 16:9,” O’Grady writes. “Soneira notes that 4:3 aspect ratio screens are great for reading because they have the same aspect ratio as content on 8.5 x 11-inch documents, but that smaller 7 to 8-inch screens with 4:3 aspect ratios will be noticeably letterboxed with 16:9 content, with reduced image size.”

O’Grady writes, “Keeping the 768 pixel height in the iPad mini will allow apps written for 1024 x 768 to be displayed with letterbox borders as they are on the iPhone 5. Based on this, Soneira thinks that there are four possible resolutions for the iPad mini, with 1152 x 768 being the most likely.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
RUMOR: Apple to send out iPad mini invitations on October 10th for October 17 special event – October 2, 2012


  1. I don’t know about that. Quite a bit of philosophizing has taken place about how 7″ tablets with 16:9 ratios look strange when in portrait orientation. Granted, movie watching is better with full use of the tablet screen, but a multifunction tablet does other things. I like the aesthetics of my iPad’s 4:3 screen. And a smaller, lighter iPad will heft better in portrait position. I favor scaling down the current iPad but keeping its 4:3 ratio.

  2. It would make more sense to me if they just made the 7″ iPad the same resolution as the iPad 2. Wouldn’t that make it way easier to support development-wise, since it’s a resolution they are already supporting?

  3. Said it once before and I will say it again. The 16:9 ratio is the direction Apple is going to have to go to take control of the TV market like they plan. They need apps to be prepared at the 16:9 ratio already so it’s much easier for developers once Apple TV is launched with apps. Whether its the box we have no or a full on television. Apple is not dumb enough to attempt making a TV that doesn’t fit the 16:9 ratio.

  4. Fsck that. I didn’t even want the iPhone to be 16:9. Apple would be fools not to see how the iPad’s ratio is part of what gives it a leg up on all those widescreen Droid tabs. They only do it for appearance’s sake anyway, not usability.

    If it’s 16:9 then they can count me out and I’ll stick with the big boy iPad. Of course the fear is that they would then make the regular iPad 16:9 next year, which would leave me no place to turn.

    The only other company besides Apple that created a truly innovative and usable mobile operating system were the folks at Palm with webOS, headed by Jon Rubinstein. They had the only tablet besides the iPad with a 4:3 ratio because Ruby and his team understood the benefit. When they made their 7″ mini tablet, called the TouchPad Go (never made it to market), even that one maintained its 4:3 screen.

    You cannot design tablets around movie viewing, that will always be a secondary task. Nobody wants to spend any significant amount of time watching movies on a goddamn tablet.

  5. Here we go again. ISheeps have pooh poohed on the 16:9 ratio since the first iPad/Samsung Galaxy tab 10.1 iterations but now that the Mothership is moving to it, the iSheeps as usual will line up and follow along. Expect Samsung to file suit for form factor copying.

    1. I like the 16:9 on my iPhone 5. I would NOT want 16:9 on my iPad. (and I don’t want an iPad mini)
      no doubt the Mini will sell a ton, I will not be buying one myself.

      I’m glad Apple went with a taller screen, but not any wider. making it 16:9 was a nice touch, making it wider would make it harder to use 1 handed.

  6. Of course, with so much of Apple’s business coming from international markets, the dinosaur-era 8.5 x 11-inch size is a handicap in a world which, long ago, moved to the metric system. An A4 page is thinner and longer at 210 x 297mm – not 16:9, but closer… The quaint American letter size always looks a little old fashioned in the metric world…


    Has anyone yet seen (or experienced) an answer to the question of running a NEW (1136×640) iOS app on the iPhone 4 (960×640) display? Does it get letterboxed?

    Note I’m not asking about running older apps on the new phone — this I understand runs at native res w/ blacked-out sides. I’m talking about the other way around.

    1. I had many apps updated to iPhone 5 running on my 4S before my 5 got here. they looked the exact same as they always did.

      so no, you shouldn’t see any difference. or bars anywhere.

      1. Interesting… Does that mean developers are having to maintain two separate screen layouts in new apps in order to support iPhone 3Gs/4/4s?

        For example, if an app has 5 rows of buttons on iPhone 5 (1136 pixels wide), does it have only 4 on iPhone 4 (960 pixels wide)? That seems the only alternative to scaling down, and it seems it would mean maintaining two totally separate layouts.

        Ugh.. if that’s the choice, it’s a good bet many devs will just brand their stuff “iPhone 5 only”… bad news.

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