Enough already with the shrinking bezels Apple!

Macworld

Welcome to our weekly Apple Breakfast column, which includes all the Apple news you missed last week in a handy bite-sized roundup. We call it Apple Breakfast because we think it goes great with a Monday morning cup of coffee or tea, but it’s cool if you want to give it a read during lunch or dinner hours too.

Shrink different

The iPad is in a difficult place. As I’ve discussed before, it doesn’t really have anywhere to go: the post-PC world never came to pass, leaving a dwindling market of sofa-based tablet users for whom a very basic spec and feature set is more than good enough, and who will take a lot of convincing to replace their existing model with something new.

At some point soon, Apple is expected to reveal to the world its master plan for the iPad. But it remains to be seen whether the world will be convinced. One theory is that we’ll get a bigger-screen iPad Air, which is a sensible if unthrilling idea. While another more recent prediction suggests that Apple is going to shrink the bezels.

Shrinking the bezels is one of those ideas that always sound good to consumers and journalists, but I suspect rings less pleasingly in the ears of engineers. From the outside that annoying screenless bit around the edge of your iPad seems like dead wood, crying out to be replaced by either more screen (who wouldn’t want more screen space in a device of the same size?) or nothing at all (who wouldn’t want a smaller device offering the same screen space?). But of course, in practice there is nothing remotely like dead wood in the design of a current-gen iPad, which is crammed so full of vital high-powered components that a 1960s rocket scientist would think it was magic.

So while debezelling might sound like a simple and obvious change, there are complications that may not be apparent to the layperson. Adding the componentry for extra screen space brings costs in terms of weight and battery capacity and literal cost; as would removing the componentry that lay under the bezel you’ve now removed. An iPad is a finely honed ecosystem of interlocking parts, and an alteration in one area will result in consequences somewhere else that you probably won’t like.

In any case, we’ve been here before. The iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max had their bezels shrunk fractionally compared to the previous generation, barely registering on our reviewer’s radar. The M2 MacBook Air has slimmer bezels than its predecessor, but this meant the front-facing camera had to be put in an annoying notch. More screen space overall, then, but also a more distracting visual profile.

The iPhone 16 generation is likely to see a similar shrinkage, as could an upcoming big-screen iMac, because it’s the sort of change Apple’s marketing machine can point to as wholly positive. But I would dispute that. At best it makes very little difference to the user experience.

Bezel fever is a dubious quest, as far as I’m concerned, but particularly so in the case of the iPad. An iPhone with near-invisible bezels can still be held in relative comfort, while a bezel-free MacBook can sit on a lap or be held from beneath. But the zero-bezel iPad would fall between the two stools. Its weight and physical design mean there’s nearly always a steadying thumb creeping around on to the front surface, which is fine when it’s on the bezel, but frustrating when it’s obscuring and leaving thumb prints on active screen.

There are lots of things Apple can change about the iPad range; they may or may not save it from irrelevancy, but they’re worth a try. While shrinking the bezels strikes me as a waste of time.

Foundry

Trending: Top stories

U.S. Justice Department sues Apple over its ‘iPhone monopoly.’

The Macalope thinks Apple and AI are imperfect together.

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Podcast of the week

Apple has been making moves lately in the world of AI. Let’s find out what it means for Apple users.

You can catch every episode of the Macworld Podcast on SpotifySoundcloud, the Podcasts app, or our own site.

Reviews corner

Parallels Desktop review (including new features in Parallels Desktop 19)

Crossover for Mac review: One of the simplest ways to run Windows apps on a Mac.

iVanky FusionDock Max 1 review: Quad-display dual-Thunderbolt 4 docking station.

The rumor mill

Save the date: Apple is rumored to launch new iPads on Tuesday, March 26. Or possibly

Two AirPods 4 models are coming this year with noise-cancellation and a lower price.

Apple is reportedly in talks to license Google’s Gemini AI for use in iOS.

Report: New anti-glare and scratch-resistant display coming to iPhone 17.

Software updates, bugs, and problems

Apple made a real mess of macOS Sonoma with the 14.4 update.

‘GoFetch’ flaw in Apple’s M-series chips can leak hidden encryption keys.

Tests show how the M3 MacBook Air’s best feature can hinder performance.

Oracle warns: Java users should hold off on updating to macOS Sonoma 14.4.

And with that, we’re done for this week’s Apple Breakfast. If you’d like to get regular roundups, sign up for our newsletters. You can also follow us on Facebook, Threads, or Twitter for discussion of breaking Apple news stories. See you next Monday, and stay Appley.

Apple Inc

​Macworld Macworld

Welcome to our weekly Apple Breakfast column, which includes all the Apple news you missed last week in a handy bite-sized roundup. We call it Apple Breakfast because we think it goes great with a Monday morning cup of coffee or tea, but it’s cool if you want to give it a read during lunch or dinner hours too.

Shrink different

The iPad is in a difficult place. As I’ve discussed before, it doesn’t really have anywhere to go: the post-PC world never came to pass, leaving a dwindling market of sofa-based tablet users for whom a very basic spec and feature set is more than good enough, and who will take a lot of convincing to replace their existing model with something new.

At some point soon, Apple is expected to reveal to the world its master plan for the iPad. But it remains to be seen whether the world will be convinced. One theory is that we’ll get a bigger-screen iPad Air, which is a sensible if unthrilling idea. While another more recent prediction suggests that Apple is going to shrink the bezels.

Shrinking the bezels is one of those ideas that always sound good to consumers and journalists, but I suspect rings less pleasingly in the ears of engineers. From the outside that annoying screenless bit around the edge of your iPad seems like dead wood, crying out to be replaced by either more screen (who wouldn’t want more screen space in a device of the same size?) or nothing at all (who wouldn’t want a smaller device offering the same screen space?). But of course, in practice there is nothing remotely like dead wood in the design of a current-gen iPad, which is crammed so full of vital high-powered components that a 1960s rocket scientist would think it was magic.

So while debezelling might sound like a simple and obvious change, there are complications that may not be apparent to the layperson. Adding the componentry for extra screen space brings costs in terms of weight and battery capacity and literal cost; as would removing the componentry that lay under the bezel you’ve now removed. An iPad is a finely honed ecosystem of interlocking parts, and an alteration in one area will result in consequences somewhere else that you probably won’t like.

In any case, we’ve been here before. The iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max had their bezels shrunk fractionally compared to the previous generation, barely registering on our reviewer’s radar. The M2 MacBook Air has slimmer bezels than its predecessor, but this meant the front-facing camera had to be put in an annoying notch. More screen space overall, then, but also a more distracting visual profile.

The iPhone 16 generation is likely to see a similar shrinkage, as could an upcoming big-screen iMac, because it’s the sort of change Apple’s marketing machine can point to as wholly positive. But I would dispute that. At best it makes very little difference to the user experience.

Bezel fever is a dubious quest, as far as I’m concerned, but particularly so in the case of the iPad. An iPhone with near-invisible bezels can still be held in relative comfort, while a bezel-free MacBook can sit on a lap or be held from beneath. But the zero-bezel iPad would fall between the two stools. Its weight and physical design mean there’s nearly always a steadying thumb creeping around on to the front surface, which is fine when it’s on the bezel, but frustrating when it’s obscuring and leaving thumb prints on active screen.

There are lots of things Apple can change about the iPad range; they may or may not save it from irrelevancy, but they’re worth a try. While shrinking the bezels strikes me as a waste of time.

Foundry

Foundry

Foundry

Trending: Top stories

U.S. Justice Department sues Apple over its ‘iPhone monopoly.’

The Macalope thinks Apple and AI are imperfect together.

Office 2024 for Mac is coming and you won’t need a subscription to get it.

Podcast of the week

Apple has been making moves lately in the world of AI. Let’s find out what it means for Apple users.

You can catch every episode of the Macworld Podcast on Spotify, Soundcloud, the Podcasts app, or our own site.

Reviews corner

Parallels Desktop review (including new features in Parallels Desktop 19)

Crossover for Mac review: One of the simplest ways to run Windows apps on a Mac.

iVanky FusionDock Max 1 review: Quad-display dual-Thunderbolt 4 docking station.

The rumor mill

Save the date: Apple is rumored to launch new iPads on Tuesday, March 26. Or possibly

Two AirPods 4 models are coming this year with noise-cancellation and a lower price.

Apple is reportedly in talks to license Google’s Gemini AI for use in iOS.

Report: New anti-glare and scratch-resistant display coming to iPhone 17.

Software updates, bugs, and problems

Apple made a real mess of macOS Sonoma with the 14.4 update.

‘GoFetch’ flaw in Apple’s M-series chips can leak hidden encryption keys.

Tests show how the M3 MacBook Air’s best feature can hinder performance.

Oracle warns: Java users should hold off on updating to macOS Sonoma 14.4.

And with that, we’re done for this week’s Apple Breakfast. If you’d like to get regular roundups, sign up for our newsletters. You can also follow us on Facebook, Threads, or Twitter for discussion of breaking Apple news stories. See you next Monday, and stay Appley.

Apple Inc 

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