Here’s Why an iPad Mini is Only a Matter of Time

As Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung met in court last week, an internal email was released revealing that Apple executives have been interested for some time in the possibility of a smaller tablet device comparable in size to Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle Fire or Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Nexus 7.

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The email would seem to confirm rumors that Apple has a 7-inch “iPad Mini” in the works, but further demonstrates that Apple keeps an eye on products other companies are releasing, even if they are in a sector in which it doesn’t compete. The email also shows that not all Apple executives were as dismissive of the 7-inch form factor as the late Steve Jobs.

The email in question was sent by Eddy Cue, head of Apple’s Internet software and services, to Tim Cook, Scot Forstall, and Phil Schiller. Cue says in the email that he has used a 7-inch Galaxy Tab and that he found the email, book, social, and video experience on the device to be compelling. Apple has taken Samsung to court for supposedly copying iPad-style patents.

While Cue notes that the weakest point of the 7-inch form factor is browsing the web, he said that it was not a major detractor. Furthermore, he says in the email that he believes “there will be a 7″ market and [Apple] should do one.”

The email makes Samsung’s point that Apple does indeed take cues from its competitors and that it is not, in fact, always the other way around. However, more importantly, it signals support for a smaller iPad within Apple’s upper ranks. Such a device has been widely rumored for the last two years, and with the success of last year’s Kindle Fire and this year’s Nexus 7, it seems incumbent upon Apple to act quickly.

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