Steve Jobs had warmed to the idea of smaller tablets before his death, court documents suggest, as he gradually overcame his earlier and very public scepticism of their virtues.
The former Apple CEO famously rubbished smaller tablets from rivals on the grounds that the size of their displays is not “sufficient to create great tablet apps”. Dubbing the gadgets ‘tweeners’, he also slammed them as “too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad" and claimed they are fiddly and difficult to use.
However, emails submitted as evidence in Apple’s seismic patent dispute with Samsung suggests that he was either being disingenuous or eventually had something of a change of heart.
The missives from Apple exec Eddy Cue to the tech giant’s head of iOS Scott Forstall and other Cupertino top brass make reference to conversations with Jobs about a more compact iPad, in which the visionary Apple founder appears to have come around to the idea.
An email from Cue states: "Having used a Samsung Galaxy [Tab], I tend to agree with many of the comments below.
"I believe there will be a 7in [tablet] market and we should do one. I expressed this to Steve several times since Thanksgiving and he seemed very receptive the last time."
The emergence of the mail comes amid a spate of rumours that Apple will debut a so-called iPad Mini later this year. Purportedly due to land alongside the iPhone 5, the slate is expected to feature a screen in the region of 7.85-inches and a dual-core processor.