A fresh set of rumors that Apple is going to introduce a smaller iPad with a 7-inch screen recalls Jobs' frequent dismissal of the notion of a smaller version of Apple's 9.7-inch tablet computer.
When competitors to Apple's iPad came out
with smaller 7-inch screen tablet computers in 2010, CEO Steve Jobs famously
declared them "dead on arrival." Now, under new management, Apple
appears to be more open to the idea.
Today, seven months after Jobs' death, The Wall Street Journal's AllThingsD
site reported that Apple may be about to introduce a "Mini-Me" iPad, specifically
noting that component suppliers in Asia are gearing up mass production of just
such a device. The current iPad sports a 9.7-inch screen and while AllThingsD
doesn't say exactly what
screen size the supposed iPad Mini will come in, it said it will be "less
than 8 inches."
Such rumors have been percolating for months,
and we'll find out soon enough if they are true. But if they are, it won't
be because Apple's new executive ranks are abandoning Jobs' legacy and
reputation as a technology and product design genius. Instead, it's because they
are following Apple's once-provocative ad tag line to "Think Different."
Jobs succeeded by bringing in the right
people, nurturing them and impressing upon them his vision, which they have
adopted. They include people like Tim Cook, who succeeded him as CEO, and
Jonathan Ive, the senior vice president of industrial
, whose work product includes the iPad as well as the iPhone, iMac
and MacBook Air. They also include Scott Forstall, chief of Apple's
mobile device software unit, who gave a presentation at the Apple Worldwide
Developer Conference last month about the upcoming iOS 6 operating system.
If they think Apple is ready to introduce a
smaller iPad, what Jobs said two years ago shouldn't faze them. Besides, Jobs
had a habit of dismissing criticism of Apple products lacking one feature or
another as unimportant, only to add that feature to the next version. The original
iPad was criticized by some for being great for consuming media but not for
creating it. Sure enough, the iPad2, introduced in 2011, added the GarageBand
app for creating music and iMovie for editing video, both carried over from the
Likewise, Jobs initially dismissed the 7-inch
tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab and RIM PlayBook as offering an inadequate
user experience compared with the iPad. He dropped in on an Apple earnings
conference call in October 2011 to note that a 7-inch screen has only 45
percent of the viewing area of an iPad and that on that small screen, the icons
representing various apps would be too hard to touch to be useful.
Nonetheless, competitors went ahead with
their 7-inch devices and have done fairly well. The Kindle Fire from Amazon has
a 7-inch screen and runs on a variation of Google's Android mobile OS, while
Google unveiled its own Nexus
at the Google I/O conference to favorable
The fact is that, dissing the competition
aside, Apple is all about evolving the technology, improving the processor, the
memory, the operating system, the touch-screen capabilities and the overall
Despite his penchant for hyperbole as well as
ruthless competitiveness, Jobs is probably looking down on his successors at
Apple and saying, "Okay, go ahead. Do it."