“Apple generates more gossip than the Kardashians,” The Associated Press reports. “There’s a constantly spinning mill of rumors about Apple products, most of which turn out to be untrue. What’s unusual this week is that talk has revived of a smaller iPad model, an idea company founder Steve Jobs derided publicly a year before he died.”

“Apple and its suppliers aren’t commenting. Rumors of a smaller iPad, or ‘iPad mini’ have percolated ever since the first iPad was launched two years ago. This time around, they’re fed by media reports from South Korea, China and Taiwan, saying Apple has ordered Samsung screens that are 7.86 inches measured on the diagonal,” AP reports. “That would make the screen about two-thirds the size of the current iPad, which has a diagonal measurement of 9.7 inches.”

AP reports, “Apple’s late CEO made a rare appearance on an October 2010 earnings conference call to launch a tirade against the 7-inch tablet Samsung Electronics Inc. was set to launch as the first major challenger to the iPad. ‘The reason we wouldn’t make a 7-inch tablet isn’t because we don’t want to hit a price point, it’s because we don’t think you can make a great tablet with a 7-inch screen,’ Jobs said. ‘The 7-inch tablets are tweeners, too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad.'”

“He said the resolution of the display could be increased to make up for the smaller size, but that would be ‘meaningless, unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of the present size,'” AP reports. “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. This is one of the key reasons we think the 10-inch screen size is the minimum size required to create great tablet apps,’ he said. Jobs failed to mention Apple’s success developing apps that use taps, flicks and pinches on the iPhone, with its 3.5-inch screen.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Jobs criticized 7-inch tablets. He said nothing of 7.85- or 7.86-inch tablets. He also said nothing about the aspect ratio(s) of any such tablets. Jobs was also rather notorious for talking down technology (video on iPods, eBooks, etc.) before Apple launched exactly what Jobs had been criticizing, quite likely in order to confuse competitors about Apple’s true intentions.

The iPhone is not a “tablet,” hence Jobs’ comment about the ability for users to tap, flick or pinch within “great tablet apps” does not apply. There is nothing stopping Apple from making and branding a 7.85-inch device as a super-sized iPod touch instead of an “iPad mini” — in which case Jobs’ comment about “great tablet apps” also would not apply.

Related articles:
Analyst: Apple ‘iPad mini’ release a ‘question of when, not if’ – April 17, 2012
Apple to launch ‘iPad mini’ in third quarter this year, report claims – April 16, 2012
Gruber: 7.85-inch iPad still in testing in Apple labs – April 5, 2012
Apple reportedly lining up suppliers for 7.85-inch Apple iPad mini – March 5, 2012