Screen Grabs: Vampire Diaries uses Galaxy Note to scratch out sinister signals

Screen Grabs chronicles the uses (and misuses) of real-world gadgets in today’s movies and TV. Send in your sightings (with screen grab!) to screengrabs at engadget dot com

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The residents of Mystic Falls, Virginia are the most tech-savvy bunch of supernatural creatures we’ve ever seen. If Edward Cullen and Bella Swan bothered to email each other, then we’d have been spared the horrors of New Moon. Quite the opposite here, as The Vampire Diaries folks have their fingers close to the undead pulse of gadgets, with one character in last night’s episode refusing to type a text message so they could write out their response with an S-Pen. Fans of the show that keep score should know that it currently stands two to Microsoft, two to Google and the fate of humanity all to play for.

Why a 7.85″ Screen for the Rumored ‘iPad Mini’ Makes Sense

Rumors of an “iPad mini” have been persistent over the past couple of years, despite an early dismissalof the 7″ tablet form-factor by Apple’s Steve Jobs:

There are clear limits to how close elements can be on the screen before users can’t touch accurately. We believe 10-inch screen is minimum necessary.

Jobs’ dismissal centers around an interface issue that a 10-inch screen is believed to be the minimum necessary to provide a good user interface.

Still, rumors of a smaller iPad have persisted with the latest rumors pinpointing a 7.85″ screen for such a device. Apple has reportedly received samples of 1024×768 7.85″ screens with rumors ofmass production of the device sometime this fall.

AppAdvice digs into this exact screen size and reveals why the 7.85″ size is not as arbitrary as it might seem.

The site calculates the points per inch (PPI) of such an imaginary 7.85″ 1024×768 display and finds it to be 163 PPI. This is the exact same pixel density as the original iPhone and iPod Touch before the Retina Display. Apple’s human interface guidelines for iOS development for both iPad and iPhone outline that the minimum size for tappable user interface elements at 44 x 44 points (0.27 x 0.27 inches on the original iPhone screen).

This 44 x 44 point size recommendation is true for the original iPhone and the original iPad, even though the original iPad was slightly less pixel-dense. (On Retina-enabled displays, the recommendation remains at 44 x 44 points, but with each point represented by 2 pixels)

What this means is that any iPad application that was designed with these guidelines in mind would never drop below Apple’s recommended 44 x 44 point (0.27 x 0.27 inches) when displayed on a 7.85″ miniaturized iPad. As we noted in our paper mockup of a iPad mini, that the user interface elements seemed perfectly usable on the smaller screen, and this would explain why. iPad apps would run without modification on a 7.85″ iPad without any elements dropping below what Apple considers the minimal tappable size.

None of this means that Apple will definitely be producing such a device, but does show the 7.85″ size is not an arbitrary decision. Existing iPad apps would run reasonably well without modification on such a device.