Eddy Cue Worked to Convince Steve Jobs of Need for 7-Inch iPad in Early 2011

Back in October 2010, Steve Jobs appeared on an Apple earnings conference call to address the Android-based iPad competitors that were just then coming to the market. With the majority of those tablets carrying 7-inch displays, Jobs noted that the screens were only 45% as large as the iPad's and that Apple believed the iPad's 9.7-inch display was the minimum necessary for an acceptable user experience.

ipad mini mockup iphone
Mockup of 7.85-inch "iPad mini" next to an iPhone (courtesy of CiccareseDesign)

With rumors of an "iPad mini" having circulated since that time and now appearing to gain traction with more prominent sources beginning to point to a launch later this year, interest in the potential device has continued to build. Supporting the idea of a 7-inch tablet, Wired's Christina Bonnington notes that part of iOS software chief Scott Forstall's testimony in the Apple-Samsung patent trial has revealed that content chief Eddy Cue was pushing for a 7-inch iPad by January 2011.

In email, Eddy Cue wrote "I believe there will be a 7-inch market and we should do one." referring to a 7-inch iPad

CNBC's Jon Fortt reports that Steve Jobs was evenutally won over by arguments in favor of the smaller iPad.

Apple internal email shows Eddie Cue advocated in 1/11 for 7" iPad, said Steve Jobs seemed receptive most recent time

iMore, which has offered reliable information on a number of topics in recent months, claimed earlier this week that Apple's September 12 media event that has been all but confirmed by numerous mainstream media reports will see the introduction of both the next-generation iPhone and the iPad mini. Other reports have been less clear on the timing for an iPad mini launch, but many believe that it will launch in time for the holiday shopping season.

Update: CNET posts the full email sent by Cue to other senior executives at Apple:

Having used a Samsung Galaxy, I tend to agree with many of the comments below (except moving off the iPad). I believe there will be a 7" market and we should do one. I expressed this to Steve several times since Thanksgiving and he seemed very receptive the last time. I found email, books, facebook and video very compelling on a 7". Web browsing is definitely the weakest point, but still usable.

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Related Roundup: iPad mini
Buyer's Guide: iPad Mini (Don't Buy)
Related Forum: iPad

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Top Rated Comments

nfl46 Avatar
154 months ago
I miss Steve. :(

I always looked forward to his presentations. He used to have me so excited to purchase the next Apple product.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
its93rc Avatar
154 months ago
I can't imagine the 7" iPad being sold without that ruler on the right.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
D.T. Avatar
154 months ago
Eddy Cue also wanted to use baby seal skin for the rear cover.

Evil, evil man.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GenesisJLS Avatar
154 months ago
$250 or bust
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Small White Car Avatar
154 months ago
It's important to remember that this "7 inch" iPad people are talking about is rumored to be closer to 8 inches.

The math I saw worked out to this smaller iPad having 40% more screen space than the current 7" Android tablets (http://thenextweb.com/apple/2012/07/10/a-conduit-for-content-how-an-ipad-mini-could-define-the-small-tablet-market/).

So worth remembering...when Steve said those 7" tablets were too small they could still have been planning something in between that and the current iPads.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sjenkins49 Avatar
154 months ago
It's funny that everyone is saying Apple needs to build a 7" iPad to compete in the $199 to $299 market.

I keep thinking about something Jobs once said....

"What we want to do is deliver an increasing level of value to these customers, but there are some customers which we choose not to serve. We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk; our DNA will not let us do that. We've seen great success by focusing on certain segments of the market and not trying to be everything to everybody, and you can expect us to stick with that winning strategy." - Steve Jobs

Remember this is a company that sales $2199 to $2799 base price laptops that they cannot keep in stock due to demand.

Why would they care about the $199 to $299 market?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)