Don't call it widescreen: rumors abound about the next iPhone ratio

Stupid, brilliant, or neither? Aspect ratio nerds get worked up over the next iPhone

Google might be getting its layoff machine rolling again, Samsung’s stylus-oriented Galaxy Note tablet is due soon, and Apple, dear Apple, is having its video ambitions debated in a wide public rumor exchange. Let’s get to this Wednesday’s rumor roundup.

Apple’s next iPhone: 16:9?

Source: 9to5 Mac, which is really all-in on big-size Apple rumors lately, CNET in a meta kind of way, among many others. On the opposing side, Gizmodo’s Jesus Diaz.

Details: 9to5 Mac doesn’t give specifics on its source, other than that it has “heard” the following:

Both of these phones sport a new, larger display that is 3.999 inches diagonally. Apple will not just increase the size of the display and leave the current resolution, but will actually be adding pixels to the display. The new iPhone display resolution will be 640 x 1136. That’s an extra 176 pixels longer of a display. The screen will be the same 1.9632 inches wide, but will grow to 3.484 inches tall. This new resolution is very close to a 16:9 screen ratio, so this means that 16:9 videos can play full screen at their native aspect ratio.

Diaz’s counterpoint is that this doesn’t make sense for content producers, or customers, and doesn’t gibe with the kind of screen Apple would have to produce to get proper 16:9, which seems technically impossible at the moment.

While a 16:9 screen would fit this content perfectly, it would also push that "problem" elsewhere. It will actually make it even bigger. There are tens of thousands of movies and videos filmed in other formats (both 4:3 and all kinds of panoramic aspect ratio). More importantly, there are hundreds of thousands of apps and video games that are not designed for 16:9. Even if scaled, that will bring letterboxing to a much broader range of content.

Likelihood: It seems like the next iPhone will be bigger. Apple has already shown a willingness to break form factor with every other phone or so, expecting accessory makers to grin and bear it. But the 16:9 standard does seem like something Apple won’t feel compelled to hit. If you desperately want to see Blu-Ray-quality films on an Apple screen, they have iPads for sale.

Get excited?: I’m just excited at the idea of creating a big ol’ How Wrong They Were list by the end of the summer.

Galaxy Note 10.1, with quad-core processor and S-Pen, arriving in June

Details: It’s a half-rumor, really, as Samsung has displayed the improved 10.1-inch Note in Europe, sporting the same kind of fancy-dancy stylus as their smaller Note and upgraded specs, rumored to be swapped at the last minute to compete with upcoming competition. But the release date is looking more likely.

Likelihood: Around 90%, because it’s kind of now-or-never time in regards to launching an Android tablet, as Google may be doing one toward the end of June or in early July.

Get excited: I like Samsung’s 10.1-inch tablet, the one they launched Honeycomb 3.1 upon. I’d bet the new version is quite nice, even if you don’t use the pen.

30 percent of Motorola Mobility employees laid off after Google acquisition finalized

Source: TechCrunch

Details: Now that the $12.5 billion deal is 99 percent done, word is that Google is going to do the same kind of mandatory headcount reduction it pulled off after acquiring ad firm DoubleClick: a hard percentage reduction. It was 40 percent at DoubleClick, and reportedly 30 percent at Motorola.

Likelihood: Good. Google named one of its own as Motorola’s CEO, and even if Google did acquire Motorola for more than just patents, the broad scope of Motorola’s phone division is going to narrow under Google’s stewardship.

Get excited?: Only if you own a moving van company in Libertyville, Ill.

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