Tim Cook agrees with Steve Jobs -- Apple shouldn’t make a 7-inch tablet

by David Needle

October 25 2012

Apple CEO Tim Cook shows off the iPad mini earlier this week.
Apple CEO Tim Cook shows off the iPad mini earlier this week.

They say baseball is a game of inches. In the competitive tablet world, sometimes fractions of an inch make all the difference. For example, the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs famously dissed the idea of smaller, 7-inch tablets as, among other criticisms, “insufficient to create great tablet apps.”

But wait, didn’t Apple just introduce a 7-inch iPad mini?

Not so fast, said Tim Cook during an earnings call with analysts today. Cook rightly pointed out that the iPad mini’s display measures 7.9-inches diagonally, making it a lot closer to 8-inches and, more importantly offering a lot more overall screen real estate (35% more) than Amazon’s Kindle Fire or Google’s Nexus 7 which both are 7-inch screen devices.

“We would not make one of the 7-inch tablets, we don’t think they are good products,” said Cook. “Not just because of the 7 inches, but for many reasons, but one of the reasons is size.

“You look at the usable area of the iPad mini and it’s almost 50% to 70% more and has almost the same number of pixels as the iPad 2 which means you have access to all the  apps designed for the iPad.

“I think iPad mini is a fantastic product, not a compromised product like the 7-inch products -- it’s in another league,” Cook said.

Jobs had detailed a number of reasons about two years ago why he thought 7-inch tablets would be "dead on arrival," concluding with:

"Their manufacturers will learn the painful lesson that their tablets are too small and increase the size next year, thereby abandoning both customers and developers who jumped on the 7-inch bandwagon with an orphan product. Sounds like lots of fun ahead."

Earlier in today's earnings call, Jobs successor Cook took a shot at Microsoft’s new Surface tablet, calling it “a fairly compromised, confusing product.” 

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