One thing I’m glad Apple chose to do today was allow the iPhone 5 to head in a new direction, but not allowing that to force the iPad family in the same direction. Of course by this I mean the 16:9 aspect ratio. While it is great for wide screen video and I think acceptable for the iPhone (especially when you consider the fact that they only had to stretch the phone vertically a little bit to get there), I don’t think 16:9 is a good idea for a tablet. Something about the 4:3 ratio just feels right. When you hold it in your hand the weight feels properly distributed. When you read a book on it (especially in landscape mode) it feels like a similar enough dimension to a physical book and the same with a magazine in portrait mod. Most websites are created with a 4:3 aspect ratio. I think the magic in it is that the iPad is large enough that when you are doing something on the screen that is meant to replicate a real world/tangible object (like holding a map for instance) you don’t even notice that it feels right, it feels like the iPad isn’t, but whatever is on the screen (contact book, book, magazine, webpage, etc.) simply is. When you perform the same tasks on an iPhone you know and feel that you’re doing it on a phone, but something about the iPad makes it feels as familiar as the actual act of doing whatever you’re digitally doing. 4:3 is just right. It’s how we’ve always done it long before computers.
I think I’ve made it pretty clear what I think of the Microsoft Surface software, but I think the hardware is actually pretty damn nice. But the 16:9 screen on it is a flaw. In my opinion it’s the only flaw (and hey, cut me some slack, not everything has to be exactly like the iPad to be well executed). But it is flaw enough for a device that has an experience that is completely centered on the display to keep me away from it for now. If it were a laptop I wouldn’t care, but I have one of those. It’s a tablet. Let me brain feel like it is.