Shockingly, Steve Jobs wasn't against the idea of an iPad mini...
In 2011, Apple SVP of Internet Services, Eddy Cue, apparently emailed Apple SVP of iOS, Scott Forstall, that Apple's then CEO, the late Steve Jobs was open to the idea of a Samsung Galaxy Tab sized iPad mini. This came to light as part of the ongoing Apple vs. Samsung, according to The Verge's Bryan Bishop:
Forstall is shown a 2011 email from Eddy Cue, in which Cue forwarded an article that a journalist wrote about dumping the iPad after using a Galaxy Tab. Cue writes "Having used a Samsung Galaxy [Tab], i tend to agree with many of the comments below... I believe there will be a 7-inch market and we should do one. I expressed this to Steve several times since Thanksgiving and he seemed very receptive the last time."
One of the most oft-repeated, and often taken out of context, criticisms levied against the very idea of a 7.x-inch iPad is that in October of 2010, Steve Jobs said that 7-inch tablets were terrible and would be DOA when they hit the market.
That's the same Steve Jobs, of course, who once said no one wanted to watch video on an iPod, before introducing the iPod video, and that Apple would never make a phone, before introducing the iPhone, and that no one wanted to read, before introducing iBooks.
The public statements of CEO's are just that -- public statements, with all the strategy, including misdirection, that that can imply. They're not indicative of anything other than they're exactly what a CEO, in this case Steve Jobs, wants everyone to hear at a certain point in time.
This email correspondence between on the other hand, if accurate, is different. It's an internal communication. It's what Eddy Cue wanted Scott Forstall to hear at that specific point in time.
It doesn't negate any effect Steve Jobs saying 7-inch tablets were terrible could have on the likelihood of Apple making an iPad mini, however, because there never was any beyond misquotes and misunderstandings.
The 7-inch tablets Jobs was referring to were exactly that -- 7-inches in size, made by competitors, not running iPad iOS, and were, frankly, terrible and were, as it turns out, DOA.
What it does show is, perhaps, part of Apple's process and thinking around bringing the rumored iPad mini to market, and their timeline. And that's interesting.
Tim Cook once said the thing that most impressed him about Steve Jobs was Jobs' ability to change his mind, and to change direction with incredible speed.
If and when Apple chooses to release an iPad mini, it will be different in kind from existing small form factor tablets that were on the market at the time. Whether it succeeds or not, it will be different than what Steve Jobs was referring to in 2010 -- it will be what he was "receptive" to in 2011, and for very specific reasons.
It won't be a 7-inch tablet. It'll be a 7.85-inch or thereabouts iPad.
Source: The Verge