Why isn't the iPhone's screen 16:9?

So, like many of you... I've been obsessed with my new iPhone this past week. I have grown curious as to why its designers decided to use the screen it did. The more I think about it, the more it would have made sense to go with a 16:9 ratio screen. I don't know what possessed them to go with a 3:2. This device is supposed to become my premier place for viewing mobile video...wouldn't it make sense to use the standard aspect ratio for all things video today?

I've done the math (hopefully it's right) and if we keep the same width, the length only grows by about half an inch (approx. 1.3 cm), which I'd be more than fine with myself, and probably everyone else too I'd imagine. I've made a quick little graphic to give you a better idea of what I'm talking about here.

iphone screen comparison

Now this makes the screen 4.1 inches rather than the 3.5 it currently is, or just about the same size as the PSP's screen. Assuming they were to keep a similar resolution, it would go from 480 x 320 to 569 x 320 I guess. The 569 sounds a little awkward to me, so I bet they'd probably shift it up or down by 1 pixel. Then again, if a higher resolution puts a strain on their hardware this might make them want to drop the resolution to what the PSP uses (480 x 270). What I'd really love to see is for them to bump it up to EDTV resolution (aka 480p-wide, or 854 x 480). Honestly, I can't see any self-respecting portable media player that has a resolution less than this. Maybe Apple will go this route with their next generation...but by then, I'll probably have moved onto something powered by OpenMoko/Android/LiMo/MobLin/OpenSymbian/etc ;)

PS: Haven't gotten around to jailbreaking my iPhone3G just yet, hopefully all will go well tonight...

No comments: