Rumors about the iPad Mini received encouragement this week after a senior Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) executive’s 2011 email revealed Steve Jobs was receptive to the idea of a smaller tablet. According to evidence introduced by Samsung during the two companies’ ongoing patent trial in San Jose, California, Apple vice President Eddy Cue told then-chief operating officer Tim Cook in January 2011 that building a 7-inch tablet made sense.
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Cue wrote in the email, also addressed to software chief Scott Forstall and marketing head Phil Schiller, that he had broached the idea of a smaller tablet to Jobs several times and that the Apple co-founder was receptive “the last time.” Cue added that he thought there was a market for smaller tablets and that the company “should do one,” according to Reuters.
Cue became the company’s senior vice president of Internet software and services in September.
While Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has not confirmed or denied the development, Jobs has earlier been documented to dislike the idea of a tablet smaller than the current 10-inch iPad. In 2010, Jobs told analysts that 7-inch tablets should come with sandpaper to help users file their fingers down. “There are clear limits of how close you can physically place elements on a touch screen before users cannot reliably tap, flick, or pinch them,” Jobs had said then.
However, over the past few months, speculation has grown that Apple will launch a smaller tablet, a supposed iPad Mini, to take on Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle Fire, and now, Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Nexus 7.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung have been exchanging blows in a high-stakes, high-publicity battle over intellectual property infringement. Apple has accused Samsung of copying the design and features of its iPad and iPhone, while the Korean company alleges Apple infringed on its technology patents.