Tim Cook addresses Steve Jobs' 7-inch tablet remarks, says iPad mini in a whole different league

Tim Cook says iPad not a 7-inch tablet, in a whole different league

During Apple's Q4 2012 conference call Tim Cook was asked about the iPad mini, and why Apple released it after Steve Jobs had previously called 7-inch tablets "terrible".

Cook responded that Apple wouldn't make one of those 7-inch tablets, which they didn't consider good products for a number of reasons. The iPad mini, according to Cook both during the call and at Apple's iPad and Mac event previously, is 7.9-inches rather than 7-inches, and due to its 4:3 and 1024x768 pixel display, it has 35% more screen real-estate than a 7-inch, typically 16:9, tablet. Including the difference in landscape height, and depending on interface chrome, Cook said that translates into a 50-67% more space.

The iPad mini, because it has the same display as the iPad 2, only at a smaller size, can run all 250,000 iPad apps, compared to the tiny number of competing tablet apps.

Cook sees 7-inch tablets as compromised, and the iPad mini as being in a "whole different league".

When Steve Jobs first made his comments almost exactly 2 years ago, the 7-inch tablet market consisted primarily of the original Samsung Galaxy Tab, and the unveiled but not yet released BlackBerry Playbook.

Neither of those tablets were fantastic then, and while the Galaxy Tab has been replaced with new versions, and the BlackBerry Playbook will eventually be upgraded to BB10, neither have gained much traction since. The Amazon Kindle Fire is more a U.S.-centric content appliance than tablet, with otherwise middling hardware and software. Even the Nexus 7 remains more iPod touch than iPad, still lagging far behind in terms of tablet software.

You can argue Cook's screen size comparisons, but the build quality and software quality of the iPad mini can't be argued, nor can its international content offerings. Whether or not that puts it in a different league remains to be seen, but it's tough to see the iPad mini not becoming the best selling small tablet on the market. And quickly.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Tim Cook addresses Steve Jobs' 7-inch tablet remarks, says iPad mini in a whole different league


The 7.9" excuse is pretty lame, with only minimal merit. The real answer is, as we all know, $$. And the challenge to dominate yet another segment.

7.9" is the only way Apple could go regarding software compatibility & cost savings... which is basically iPhone3/GS display with more than double the size... they've done that not because they're
greedy but because they have to satisfy analysts/share holders, which demands high profit margins
GM around 40... they are to blame for non retina Minis... this time... strange though no one question googl's GM 0 ... or AMZN's GM in minus what ever ... and that by P/E over 100

I think the whole 7-inch thing is a ruse. 7.9" is really 8 inches, but for some reason, they're not going with that, touting it as a "seven inch tablet" emphasizing smallness. My bet is that it will sell well, probably on the tactile feel of the thing once people get a chance to play with it.

The iPad mini has roughly 25% more screen area than a 7" diagonal 4:3 iPad would have had. That's a pretty significant difference.

We did a little math and came up with this:
7.00" diagonal iPad mini -> 4.210" x 5.599" -> 23.57 square inches
7.85" diagonal iPad mini -> 4.717" x 6.274" -> 29.59 square inches

7.85" iPad mini: 125.5% the screen area that the 7.00" iPad mini would have.

also the resolution 168 dpi of the Mini is 24% more dense than 132 dpi of an iPad non retina

I think Apple introduced the iPad mini because Google, Amazon and Samsung had initial success with a smaller tablet. If Steve Jobs was alive, he would greenlight the project to introduce the iPad mini because their was a demand for it.


If it's in a different league, then why compare it with Nexus 7 ?!
Tim cook = Douche bag = Perfect replacement.

or... he compared it with the NXS7 just to highlight that it was in a different league... DUDE

My feeling is that the Mini is still a luggable device because it won't fit in any of my pants front pockets. It is really nice to not have to carry it with your hands or under your arm or in bag. This is probably not an issue for. the ladies as they carry a bag anyway. When I pull a tablet out of my pocket with strangers, the typical comment is: Wow, where did that come from a s almost none of them notice it beforehand. Can't wait for a 7" Note to come along so I can ditch the 4.3" phone in the other front pocket. Previously owned 7" Nook Color and now a 7" HTC Flyer and yes, I carry it everywhere. My iPad 2 is mainly used around the house.

It's not like Apple chose these specs at random or determined this is what users would love. Due to constraints, they had to have a 4:3 aspect ratio. It had to be 1024 x 768. It had to accommodate existing ipad apps.

Apple chose this because it's cheapest to make and it accommodates devs and apps the best.

In other words, they couldn't really make anything else. Just like they're constrained when it comes to going bigger with phones. It's brilliant the way Apple dances around these limitations they have. Here's a 4:3 7.9" tablet, every inch an ipad and definitely not one of those 7" tablets we said we'd never make. They kind of leave out the part "we can't make those kind of existing 7" tablets because of iOS and app constraints."

It's just so laughable how Cook and Schiller are explaining their errors in judgement. First Schiller has to defend the iPad mini pricing because its clear NOT everyone has deep cash pockets like the apple faithful and does choose price as a key factor. As for constantly bashing Android tablets as confusing and lame, well that is what haters do.

Now for Cook's position on the Surface when he has NOT touched one, and is going based on (biased) reviews and opinions is again a sad statement about Apple's way of doing business. Fact is if MS hadn't pumped cash into Apple long ago it was going under.

Now we have Cook saying how the iPad mini is in a whole different league, sure it is. It's got 2 year old specs taken from a 2 generation old model. Bottom line is Apple cheaped out on components to make it as cheap as they felt they could, but its still over priced when compared to the other 7-7.7" tablets on the market.

I have my iP5, iPad 3 and my MBP 13" but that doesn't mean I get tired of the BS that flows out of Appleland.

One final thought, sure Apple sold out of white iPad mini's but how many did they sell on day 1, how many did they have to sell? Apple's lack of transparency is the issue and lumping all of your iPad sales into a single figure when reporting to the street won't flow with the market.