An interesting email extracted yesterday from court documents of ongoing Apple vs. Samsung trial reveals discussions among Apple executives regarding a smaller 7-inch iPad, reports CNET. The email, which was sent by Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue to iOS chief Scott Forstall, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Phil Schiller, hints that discussions of building a smaller 7-inch iPad were in motion since at least 2011 and may have had the backing of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. It was presented in the court by Samsung as evidence in the company’s cross-examination of Forstall.
According to the source:
Jobs was known to flip-flop on major ideas, and misdirect about potential business avenues, though his comments about smaller tablets suggested the company would never go that direction.
That’s not the impression one gets from the e-mail exchange below, between Eddy Cue, head of Apple’s Internet software and services, and top executives regarding a story in GigaOm entitled “Why I just dumped the iPad (Hint: Size Matters)”:
In it, Cue writes to current Apple CEO Tim Cook, iOS software chief Scott Forstall, and marketing chief Phil Schiller, while mentioning a conversation with then CEO Steve Jobs (emphasis mine):
“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.”
As a reminder, when Steve Jobs was asked in 2010 about the prospect of a smaller iPad, this is what he said:
“The reason we [won't] make a 7-inch tablet isn’t because we don’t want to hit that price point, it’s because we think the screen is too small to express the software. As a software driven company we think about the software strategies first. The 7-inch form factor isn’t sufficient to create great tablet apps.”