During an Apple earnings call in late 2010, then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs noted that he believed a tablet with a 7-inch display was a subpar experience, and that a tablet with a 9.7-inch display was the minimum size needed for an enjoyable user experience.
Ever since Jobs made that statement, rumors have been mounting that Apple is indeed planning to launch a 7 to 8-inch “iPad mini”, with many big name sources claiming just such a device is on it’s way later this year. Seemingly blowing things open, is SVP of iOS Scott Forstall’s testimony in the ongoing Apple v. Samsung trial. Here, he claims that SVP of Internet Services Eddy Cue worked to convince Jobs of the need of a smaller iPad in early 2011. Here is the email, in it’s entirety, reported from CNET:
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.
So it would seem that Apple is willing to make compromises, and the late Steve Jobs was well aware, and involved in the “iPad mini’s” development. This news, when coupled with all of the rumors we’ve been hearing over the last few months, seemingly confirms that Apple will be releasing a smaller iPad. It is now a matter of when and not if it happens.