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The widescreen iPhone -- not so widescreen

Thomas Ricker, @trixxy
January 17, 2007
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You know how Steve Jobs and Apple like to boast of the iPhone's ability to function as a "widescreen iPod?" Well, anyone who sat in Moscone Center to witness the holy unveiling surely noticed the screen cropping (letterboxing) that occurred when Steve played Pirates of the Carribean. That's because the iPhone isn't "widescreen" as the term is customarily understood outside of the reality distortion field -- it is not a 1.78:1 (16x9) aspect ratio. Rather, the display utilizes a 1.5:1 aspect ratio. That puts the iPhone somewhere in the proprietary zone between the NTSC or PAL television standard 1.33:1 (4x3) and a proper widescreen 1.78:1 (16x9) aspect ratio like that thrown off Apple's new Apple TV. As demonstrated during the Jobsnote, true widescreen videos can be zoomed to fill the iPhone's screen but only at the expense of cropping the left and right-hand side video. Will this, uh, clarification or other nits prevent the first batch from selling out? Oh hells no. But at least now you know the truth.


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