Apple: 7-inch iPad Mini Tablet Not New Idea
Some 18 months ago, Apple kicked around the idea of a smaller screen 7-inch iPad, a so-called iPad mini, according to documents and testimony that emerged at the end of week one of the vendor’s intellectual property clash with Samsung. Maybe something kind of like the Samsung Galaxy Tab already on the market would do, mused one company exec at the time.
Ah, the devil’s almost always in the details, isn’t it? Last Friday, Apple iOS chief Scott Forstall (pictured, right) testified that in January 2011 Eddy Cue, the company’s Internet software and services senior vice president, in an email to top brass, urged development of a 7-inch iPad, including in his note some kind words for Samsung’s newly-introduced Galaxy.
“I believe there will be a 7” market and we should do one,” he wrote. “I found email, books, Facebook and video very compelling on a 7″. Web browsing is still the weakest point but still usable.”
While the 7-inch tablet format still seems a little like it’s neither here nor there–not a smartphone, not a tablet, not even a phablet–but content-rich nonetheless, some Apple watchers long wedded to the larger screen now agree with Cue’s inference that to compete the vendor must deliver a 7-inch tablet.
Apple’s Thought Process
Indeed, Cue’s email, a copy of which was posted here, runs thick with irony, considering the following, listed in chronological order:
- The late Steve Jobs vehemently derided the smaller size tablet
- Apple is said to have a 7-inch iPad in development
- If Samsung can demonstrate in court that Apple itself gained inspiration for its rumored 7-inch tablet from an existing Samsung device, it may blunt some of Apple’s copying claims.
This fascinating, and, in hindsight, not all that unpredictable tidbit poked out in court amid the tech titans noting how each nurtures their brands with billions in advertising, Apple claiming some $1.1 billion spent since the iPhone’s introduction five years ago and Samsung saying it spends $1 billion a year in mobile device marketing. Who knows how many Apple marketing dollars will go to position a 7-inch iPad, especially considering Apple will not have pioneered, but instead followed, the format?
For the channel, talk of an iPad mini is but a sideshow now but perhaps not for long. As Apple’s recent $356 million purchase of mobile security vendor AuthenTec showed, the vendor appears to be shoring up to move iPads and iPhones further into the enterprise, a strategy that could benefit mobile integrators extending solutions and services higher up the food chain, if, and that’s a big if, they can get their hands on the iPad and its possible smaller cousin.