The iPad has been a huge success since it was introduced in 2010. In an attempt to carve out a similar but non-competing market, other manufacturers starting creating 7 inch tabs (primarily Samsung, who can be credited with creating this niche, with Amazon and Google following suit later). Apple has yet to dive into this 7 inch tablet market although rumor has it a 7 inch iPad Mini may be released later this year. As it turns out, Apple was internally discussing a 7 inch iPad as early as 2010 with a top executive strongly lobbying for it.
The following is an e-mail sent by Eddy Cue in January 2011, the head of Apple’s Internet software and services division:
As you can see, Cue e-mailed Tim Cook, Scott Forstall, and Phil Schiller (all top Apple executives; Tim Cook wasn’t CEO at the time) and extended his support for a 7 inch tablet. Not only that but Cue also forwarded a GigaOm article to the trio which talks about why a 7 inch tablet is better than the iPad and informed them Steve Jobs seamed “receptive” to the idea of a smaller iPad. Of course Cue’s claim that Jobs may have supported the idea is in stark contrast to Jobs’ public outbursts against less-than-10-inch tablets but Steve Jobs was known to often flip-flop on ideas or purposefully mislead his competitors. (Note: The subject of Cue’s e-mail is “Why I Just Dumped the iPad (Hint: Size Matters)”. The subject is referring to the title of the GigaOm article; it is not saying Cue himself dumped the iPad.)
Perhaps the most interesting parts of the e-mail are
- Cue states he talked to Jobs about a 7 inch iPad as early as Thanksgiving. Since the e-mail was sent in Jan 2011 that means Cue must have been referring to Thanksgiving 2010. In other words, Apple was thinking about a 7 inch iPad the same year the original 10 inch iPad was released.
- Cue states he used a Samsung Galaxy, presumably Galaxy Tab 7.0. Not only does this tell us Apple doesn’t kill its employees for using non-Apple products but it may also hint at how Samsung inspired Apple as opposed to Samsung continually copying Apple, as Apple claims. On the other hand, the fact that Cue brought up the Samsung Galaxy reference may have made the 7 inch tablet idea dead on the spot seeing as Apple hates Samsung.
If rumors are correct, Cue may finally get his wish with the release of an iPad Mini later this year. If rumors aren’t correct… well, then iPad will likely continue the 10 inch tablet market while competitors will be left to fight over the 7 inch market. So… who’s ready for an iPad Mini? Let us know in the comments below!