If I’m not mistaken, Apple was the first major laptop producer to include a 16:9 ratio, letterbox monitor screen. (If they weren’t the first, they were very close.)
I’m confident this was done because HD was emerging and television was slowly converting to letterbox ratios for all of it’s programming. Apple realized the market was going this way and wanted to capture it both on their desktop models as well as with their laptop line.
The only problem is that most computer applications and projects are not landscape, they are portrait. Word documents are best seen top to bottom. Most design projects used to be portrait in nature, and the majority still are. And when it comes to design, the Mac line of computers has long been the favorite for the designer market.
This is one of the few examples I can think of in which Apple through the functional considerations of the core, existing audience to the wind in favor of the audience they didn’t yet have but were trying to win over.
The new audience is not made up of professional designers. It’s made up of early adopting, digital driven consumers with money to spend. And, ironically, thanks to the tools that have evolved, most all of them, one way or another, are amatuer designers who are probably experiencing the same horizontal frustrations that the core of professional designers have been facing for years.
As a person who rarely uses their Mac to watch movies, I’m surprised this is the way the monitor has gone. I wonder what kind of market there would be for someone who created a vertical monitor and targeted professionals who use their computer solely for work…
– My name is Jon Friesch, and I’m living in a horizontal world.