Look, the world is changing. Ever since the iPhone 5 came out with a 16:9 aspect ratio and the iPad mini came out with a 4:3 aspect ratio—I haven’t known what to think, whom to trust or when to stop shrieking hysterically.
It used to be that phones got dramatically better each year. The mid-2000’s Motorola Razr was amazing until I realized iPhones were inherently better. Then the next iPhone had Bluetooth or something and it was better yet. Then Samsung informed me that the next big thing was already here, and so it must have been true.
Each year, each model, each brand—they all kept getting better. More features, more apps, more megapixels—a never-ending progression toward the platonic ideal of a phone. (Side note: Plato was really into phones.)
But now the road is diverging. Some tablets and phones have a 16:9 ratio and some have a 4:3. Which is better? Why won’t the world give me a definitive answer in the form of a snazzy tagline that I will completely accept as fact?
And now 2014 is coming. There could be even more aspect ratios. And after that, what’s next? 2015?
So while it’s still the present, I’ve decided to examine what I project will be the top aspect ratios of 2014. To help you visualize each ratio, I will use images from placekitten. That way this post can also approach the platonic ideal ratio of kittens/blog posts.
I predict major manufacturers will continue to create devices in wide-screen. And because these devices are mobile, that means this ratio is also tall-screen. This is great for watching movies while driving, looking at panoramic photos while driving and playing super high levels of Angry Birds while driving. For 16:9 enthusiasts, wider is totally better (while driving).
Unless Apple follows up on the iPad Mini with even smaller versions like an iPad Deci, iPad Centi or iPad Femto, I predict that this will be a down year for this boxy dimension. Nevertheless, 4:3 will remain the second most popular aspect ratio in the land. Bonus: it’s a great ratio for boxes.
3) (1 + √5)/2
I predict a great comeback for the golden ratio. If it was good enough for da Vinci I think it’ll be good enough for user experience artists in 2014. When you’re out on the town, texting as you amble across four lanes of traffic without the light— I predict that you’ll be truly delighted by this mathematically pleasing ratio.
This mashup ratio takes the best of both worlds from 16:9 and 4:3. If wider is better, much wider is way better. That’s just science. Think of all the things you’ll be able to see clearer, like the horizon.
Super narrow is in with next year’s models. Unless you turn it sideways. Then it’s pretty similar to the last one. So don’t do that. Just keep it vertical and enjoy your oblong smart device.
That’s it. That’s all I can handle. Now if only I knew which aspect ratio was as manly as my body wash and diet soda.