Rumors swirl of smaller iPad that Steve Jobs supposedly detested

“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

38 Comments

  1. I think the problem as it stands now is that no matter how good (or not) such a device might be, with Jobs gone and Cook at the helm, the media will be quick to jump down his throat, downgrade Apple, predict its the beginning of the end etc, etc, only on the strength that it was known that Jobs hated the idea of a 7″ tablet…

    1. Or, since the pundits and analysts are the ones who want an iPad mini, they could praise Tim’s willingness to spurn Jobs for the sake of a good business decision that will strengthen the company.

  2. Frankly, when you already have dominance over so many markets, its worth the risk of introducing an iPad mini. As long as the price is low, $199 perhaps, people will buy them by the millions. And its made by Apple, so it’ll just work.

    1. Read an article a few weeks ago about one of the major airlines and their experience with tablets. One size did not fit all. Pilots need large tablets to view detailed info whereas machinists and flight line crews needed tablets that easily fit in their pocket. Cabin crews needed something in between.

      It would not be a bad move for Apple to occupy all the niches.

  3. Steve Jobs also said no one would be interested in watching video on an iPod, throwing a smoke screen while he was busy designing a video capable iPod. So unless you are in Steve’s inner circle, you can never know if the 7″ tablet comments were his true beleifs or just a smoke screen or some other competition strategy.

    1. Does anyone really like watching video on the iPod? It seems like even on the iPhone, with a bigger screen than any previous iPod, it’s not big enough to enjoy watching a video for more than a few minutes.

    2. +1 Jobs derided tablets and came out with the best tablet ever. He was just confusing the competition.

      Jobs also ridiculed Blu-ray. I wish that had been a smoke screen too. Blu-ray support is the most obvious hole in the Mac line.

  4. I would buy a $199 super xl iPod touch or a iPad mini. The price point is perfect for my whole family. I would buy 7 of them as soon as they were available. 1 each for my wife and I and 1 each for my 5 kids. We currently live off our current ios products now.

  5. I’ve never understood this whole ‘sandpaper your fingers’ thing, because, as pointed out above, that’s even more pertinent to the iPhone, with it’s tiny little screen, (relatively speaking). A 7.85″ screen is ideal as an everyday pocket device, and particularly as an ebook reader, as it’s screen is almost exactly the same size as a paperback book, without the thickness. Has anyone tried sticking one of Neil Stephenson’s books like REAMDE, or The Diamond Age in a jacket pocket? I can imagine a great many people who would have bought a Touch instead buying an iPad Mini or MaxiTouch or whatever you want to call it, because it’s so much easier to handle day-to-day. I have an iPhone and iPad, and will be upgrading my iP4 to a 5 when it comes out, but I would seriously consider the smaller Pad as well, because it’s just more usable with the bigger screen.
    That’s my take, BLN will be along in a minute to say how useless a smaller iPad would be because the iPhone will have a 4.4″ screen in its next iteration.

    1. You make an excellent point.
      Why would Jobs say this while the iPhone is considerably smaller then 7″ and the iPad is a great deal larger?

      Was it said as a Smoke Screen; to confuse the competition?
      I can’t see that being the truth. Perhaps more likely simply jealousy.

      My guess is Apple can not design fast enough. Focusing on a few products and back to the OS. Apple is a relatively small company.
      So, Apple can not bring several products to market in an array of options like Samsung can.

      Solution, Apple buys out Samsung or another company to produce what Apple Designs rather then contracting that work. Also,

      1. BluRay player costs $250

        – dual-core processor
        – can upscale video to 4K resolution
        – matching 4K projectors and future 4K TVs
        – can convert 2D video to 3D in real-time
        – Wi-Fi built in for movie and music services

        Services include: Amazon Instant Video, Flixter, Netflix, Slacker, Pandora, and Vudu. Facebook and Twitter sharing as well as DLNA media sharing fill out online features.

        Smart move Sony.

  6. I don’t know if Apple is going to come out with a “mini tablet”. I do know that it is not usual for Apple to chase a market. If they can’t bring something truely transformational, I don’t expect they will do it.

  7. MDN’s Take is spot-on. Steve Jobs frequently would talk down something they were working on to distract the competition.

    If Apple were to release a 7 inch iPad, it would be HUGE in the medical industry. The current iPad can’t fit into a lab coat, but a 7 inch one would. Not having to carry something around in your hand all day is a bigger deal than you think.

  8. Brilliant !!!!!

    A 7.85″ iPod touch Ala Sony Vita, aimed right at the heart of the gaming industry

    Ever hear the term Plausible Deniability !

    Does releasing a 7″ tablet named iPod Touch retain Steve’s credibility You bet it Does
    Does a 7.85″ screen work if you do the Math. You bet it does
    Can this be done for $249 – $299 price point You bet it can
    Does the iPod touch need a shot in the arm You bet it Does
    Does Apple recently hiring a shit load of gaming people now make sense You bet it Does*
    Do all the rumors fall into place You bet they do
    Do gamers usually move up to window machines They use too
    Does Apple only come into a market when they have a game plan (excuse the pun) to own it.
    Will it still play music You bet it will
    Will it eats it’s bigger brother the iPad Nope
    Will this kick Amazon right in the nuts You bet your ass
    Will it blow Christmas Sales out of the water. Tsunami

    Further on

    Can Apple produce this baby with a retina display and a A5 chip You bet they can
    Can Apple Market this to Mom’s looking for the benefits of an iPad You bet they will
    Can Apple market to schools looking for a cheaper ebook reader You bet they might
    Can Apple incorporate better sound You bet they might
    Can Apple create a line of perhirials to attach docks and game controls
    and different colored sport grips You bet they can

    Who am I Chicken Little?

    *
    http://gigaom.com/apple/apple-looking-to-hire-in-house-video-game-talent/

    http://news.dice.com/2012/01/30/apple-secrec/l

    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/11/04/09/apple_hiring_away_pr_execs_from_nintendo_activision_rumor.html

    http://9to5mac.com/2012/02/02/apple-hires-xbox-live-veteran-for-app-store-marketing/

    http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4082803/Apple-hires-AMD-graphics-CTO

  9. Spot on take by MDN. If apple can put the same number of pixels as iPad2 on a smaller screen and hit a lower price point, why not go for it? Doesn’t fragment and competes on price.

  10. It’s the new remote for their tv venture. It’ll be able to do SOME of the things the other two do, but will be focused on media control. Think AppleTV, runs iOS, but is intentionally underpowered (single A5 core) to fit a very narrow focus.

    1. I wish as you do, a all new device that plays well and has need even enhances the other devices. It self realizes and assists.

      – a virtual keyboard/mouse when near an iMac
      – a gaming unit when near your Apple TV
      – a voice controlled PVR and search scheduler device
      – a larger but regular iPod touch when away fro other devices

      we need a reason why this device is to arrive
      why do we want it

      only cos its bigger then iPod touch
      if so we are the lemmings – buy it cos its bigger – lol

  11. I Have To Put My Glasses On Any Way to See Ether One So I Would Be Interested In One, I Already Have The 4 AT&T Had The 4s Didn’t Like It And An iPad 2 Verizon So I Could See A Smaller 7.85 x What Though 4″ 4.5″ Easy To Hold In Your Hand And Most HD Movies Are Wide Screen Even a 5″ Or Max 6″ I Was Just Playing Around With Some App’s Seeing How It Would Look And Feel Ya I’d Go For One, Just Bring The Screen Closer To The Edge

  12. A smaller & lighter tablet would likely be used as an ereader. With that in mind — the screen needs to support usage in a variety of environments. I cannot use my iPad outside without going to nearly 100% brightness – even then sometimes unusable.

  13. “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.”

    Ok I can accept that point, however, the iPhone runs Keynotes, Pages, Numbers, iMovie and a lot of other apps more geared to iPad. And it does it very well.

    If those apps were not intended to run on iPhone – then – why are they available and work well – on the iPhone then?

    1. …because it would fragment the iOS market and piss off customers if the app did not run on another device.

      SO – in the advent of a new device arriving to market it must also conform to the eco-system and be capable of the assortment of apps available.

      Has the retina screen changed Apples thoughts on, “this whole sandpaper fingers thing” ?????? If so, then a screen any size matters not.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.