Turning the iPad sideways actually makes it 4:3 (it's 3:4 in portrait, the homescreen default), so I was assuming you knew what I meant when I said the iPad was "4:3".
I'm sorry some of you had to suffer through 4:3 monitors in the past; it sounds like it was really tough having to wait for widescreen to become mainstream. I realize many people just accept whatever they get and hate it when people bring up the issues, but that's how it is. I'm considering upgrading computers and am seeing inferior, difficult to work with widescreen laptops everywhere, and they're a downgrade in most ways. Sorry I don't agree with you, but that doesn't make me a troll. I'm sure I'll have to conform and drink the Kool-aid at some point.
True, the widescreen format means less vertical space and therefore more need to scroll for long documents, large images, etc., but widescreen (for better or worse) isn't going away. According to DisplaySearch, nearly 90% of portable computer LCDs and over 50% of standalone LCD monitors have a 16:9 aspect ratio. I honestly don't know of any laptop manufactures that still use 4:3 or 5:4, so you'd better hold on to the one you have. Those aspect ratios were close to the 3:2 used in very early 35mm cinema, and were used in TV and therefore computer CRTs. Cinema went decisively widescreen in the 1950s and now most TVs are widescreen LCDs.
Why the movement toward 16:9? Most likely because flatscreen televisions are 16:9 for "Full HD" (i.e., 1920×1080) video content, and it's cheaper to scale those panels down into computer LCDs. Also, with the same diagonal length 16:10 and 16:9 panels have less area than 4:3 and 5:4 ones (which are closer to being squares) and that also makes them cheaper to produce. At least the 16:10 aspect ratio that Apple uses for their displays is closer to the golden ratio (1.61803…) than the 16:9 screens.
Thank you for the cogent and understanding response. While I already know most of what you've said, I've never seen or heard of a 3:2 TV (which is the same aspect ratio of the original iPhone through iPhone 4S), and I don't see much point to it. I just want people to know what they're losing with widescreen, and that they're getting ripped off by laptop manufacturers making widescreen displays (though 16:10 isn't that much of a trade-off), and that there's no reason to not want a 4:3 MacBook Pro when Apple makes a 4:3 iPad... honestly the aspect ratio was one deciding factor while I was considering a MacBook Pro, and the reaction here just irks me even more.
I can run perfectly fine all the work apps I need to on my old 4:3 laptop... it would just be nice to have it be faster and up-to-date, but so far I haven't found a cost-effective reason to do it. It's sad that we're all forced to choose widescreen when it's not the best option for all of us. Letterboxes never bothered me, and I don't watch movies on my laptop anyways. I gain very little as a web developer with widescreen, but lose a lot. Thanks for at least being able to rise above the mire and comment intelligently about this.