Steve Jobs’ disdain for the 7-inch tablet form factor embraced by the likes of would-be iPad killers like the Samsung Galaxy Tab couldn’t be any more dripping even if it poured in bilious rivulets out of his open mouth. At the last earnings call, he flat out dismissed them as “DOA – Dead On Arrival.” He even fantasized about customers sanding the meat off of their fingers until only the skeletal bone was left, since “sand[ing] down their fingers to around one-quarter of their present size” is the only way to type comfortably on one.
This contempt seems pretty unequivocal to me, but someone apparently wasn’t paying attention: according to Reuters, Asian manufacturing sources are telling them that Apple is putting together a 7-inch “iPad Mini” for shipment in early 2011.
It’s pretty hard to coincide Steve Jobs’ rather impressive rant about 7-inch tablets and Reuters’ claim that a new iPad is coming that will be a little over half the size of the old one, but Kaufman Brothers analyst Shaw Wu suggests Steve Jobs was lying, simply trying to throw people off the scent of what Apple’s working on as he did when he derided the idea of an iPod that could play video.
That’s pretty hard to believe in this case, though. Jobs’ contempt was palpable, and anyway, the iPad was already supposed to fill the gap between an iPhone and a MacBook. There was a point to it. What’s the point of a 7-inch iPad?