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Apple CEO Tim Cook Clarifies Steve Jobs’ Decision to Avoid 7-Inch Tablets

During Apple’s 2012 Q4 earnings call, Apple CEO was asked a question about the company’s old position on dismissing 7-inch tablets made by their competitors, which the late Steve Jobs said would “dead on arrival”. Cook clarified that stance was aimed directly at precise tablets of 7-inches in diameter–whereas the new iPad mini is at 7.9 inches and a screent ratio of 3:2 which provides 35% more screen area (via the WSJ):

Q: Why launch the iPad now? Was the time right?

Cook: On your question about iPad Mini, the comments you’re referencing are comments Steve had made before about 7-inch tablets. Let me be clear, we would not make a 7-inch tablet, we don’t think they’re good products. One of the reasons is size. The difference on just the real estate size is almost 30%. When you look at the usable area, it’s much greater than that, it’s 50-67%. The iPad Mini has the same number of pixels as iPad 2 does, so you have access to all 275,000 apps that are in our App Store that have been custom designed to take advantage of the full canvas. iPad Mini is a fantastic product, it’s not a compromised product like the 7-inch tablets.

That 35 percent Cook is referencing has been part of Apple’s marketing strategy as a plan of attack against 7 inch rival tablets like the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Fire HD.

Steve Jobs first made the comments about 7 inch tablets during Apple’s 2010 Q4 earnings call:

“7-inch tablets are tweeners: too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with the iPad”

[…]

“These are among the reasons that the current crop of 7-inch tablets are going to be DOA — dead on arrival,”

Jobs also noted competing manufacturers were struggling to meet the pricepoint of the iPad at the time. Since then, we’ve seen the demise of the HP TouchPad and BlackBerry PlayBook. This afternoon, Amazon announced a quarterly loss of $274 million dollars. The company admits it sells its Kindle Fire line up at a break even price (or even a partial loss) and would rather make money by having customers consume their content.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • KJ

    Makes sense once again instead of apple quickly shooting out products like their competitors…they waited till it was the best experience for the user before releasing…all I can think is duh…and to all those people say applea all about the money…well last i checked every god damn companies is…just apple gives you quality over quantity…once again duh

  • Cheers

    Umm I doubt very much that “Steve Jobs first made the comments about 7 inch tablets during Apple’s 2012 Q4 earnings call”. At best, it would’ve been Q4 2010.

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca Gary

    Hehe, it was the ‘ghost’ of Jobs.

    Corrected, thanks.

  • Rejie

    Once again duh? I love the iPhone don’t get me wrong. But this is the same guy that said 3.5″ is all the thumb needs… Hmm, so ‘duh’ y make it .5 inches bigger? Cuz he’s dead?! No! Steve meant anything in the 7″ range is b.s. cooks just trying to cover it up…

  • pure_4

    “Steve Jobs first made the comments about 7 inch tablets during Apple’s 2012 Q4earnings call”
    Wow he makes conference calls from beyond the grave?

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca Gary

    Yep. iGhost.

  • Rejie dumbballs

    Doubt it there buddy

  • Cathead

    I can’t wait to get my greasy little paws on a iPhone 5…ahhhhh sometimes I put my iPhone on my wiener and set it on vibrate and call it multiple times ahhhhhhhhh I-gasim…stop trolling ahhhhhhh

  • Jonathan W.

    Is there an app for that?

  • Ivanhoe

    I don’t really buy the marketing pitch; it is still just a 7″ tablet. I always suspected that they planned to make one all along, and just criticized the form factor until they had theirs ready. There are little things like the UI guidelines for the iPad–scaled down to 7.9″–happen to exactly match the UI guidelines for the iPhone (in terms of minimum usable button size).

    Or Steve Jobs may have just been wrong. He had great design intuition, but he was not infallible.