This weekend I was using my MacBook Air 11″ to remotely create a virtual machine on my HTPC Mac Mini because Bryce doesn’t work on Lion and I need to finally get some stuff done. In the process, I had the remote display set to 1920×1080 and viewed it Full Screen on the Air’s 1366×768. As both are 16:9 there were no borders but one thing I did notice was that despite the obvious drop in quality, 1080p was perfectly usable (readable) at 11″. Upon declaring whatever DPI this is “usable”, I opened up an XGA sized window in the remote session and measured. To my surprise, it was actually less than 7″. In other words, it’d be almost like 4 iPhone 3GS screens glued together.
My main sticking point for why Apple can successfully make an iPad Mini is that it should be able to fit into a coat pocket or at least a purse. At $299, there are enough wives and children who currently only have limited access to “Daddy’s iPad” to sell plenty – my brother, a father of three, and our father both share a single iPad with their wives.
As a developer, of course I’m going to buy it. But realistically, I can see me asking “Honey, can you carry this in your purse?” every time we go somewhere together. Yes, an iPad 2 with smart cover fits in her Vera Bradley purse but it’s not casual. You’re very aware there’s an iPad in your purse.
Back to screen dpi… Safari’s Reader function kills whatever worries we used to have regarding the annoyance of pinching/zooming. The first generation won’t have a retina display, but can you imagine if a second generation model did, and a first generation iPad Mini without retina display was sold at $199?