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7-inch iPad Mini mentioned in internal Apple Galaxy Tab email [screenshot]

August 5, 2012

A couple a days ago we talked about two important testimonies in the U.S. Apple vs Samsung court, Phil Shiller’s and Scott Forstall’s. Both are important figures inside Apple, both Senior Vice Presidents – of Worldwide Marketing and iOS Software, respectively – so it’s certainly interesting to hear them speak about iPhone, iPad and Samsung while under oath.

The email

One of the interesting tidbits of Forstall’s testimony was a reference to an internal email sent by Eddy Cue, who’s also a Senior Vice President of Apple’s, dealing with Internet Services and Software, back in 2011 and referring to the iPad mini – although that product name is not mentioned in the email.

Now we have the actual screenshot of that email, via CNET, that was sent by Cue to Shiller, Forstall, but also to Tim Cook, who wasn’t CEO at the time of that email – 24 January 2011.

Here’s what the email reads:

Having used a Samsung Galaxy, I tend to agree with many of the comments below [after the email a link to a GigaOM post is provided] (except moving off the iPad). I believe there will be a 7″ market and we should do one. I expressed this to Steve several times since Thanksgiving and he seemed very receptive the last time. I found email, books, facebook and video very compelling on a 7″. Web browsing is definitely the weakest point, but still usable.

ipad mini vs nexus 7

The iPad Mini

What’s interesting about the email is that it comes just a few months after Jobs’s iconic rant against 7-inch tablets, which came after the original Galaxy Tab was unveiled, during an Apple earnings report that was attended by Jobs, a rare presence for the CEO at such occasions.

iPad Mini rumors have started to hit the web since early 2011, probably at the same time these internal emails were circulating between Apple execs, but the company did not launch the device in late 2011, as it was rumored at one point.

Instead, in late 2011, Amazon launched the Kindle Fire, which became the most successful 7-inch tablet to date, although it’s now heavily challenged by Google’s own Nexus 7 – naturally, it will take a while until Google surpasses Amazon in sales.

Cue may have been right at the time about 7-inch tablets – that there’s a market for them – but it’s just now that’s very clear there’s a market for such devices, as long as they’re budget-friendly. So Apple, overall, may have been right not to launch an iPad Mini last year.

The trial

It’s also worth noting the point that Samsung was trying to make with its line of questioning when Forstall took the witness box – Apple is checking out the competition too, when it comes to new products, and it’s ready to adapt to what its product lines to meet the needs of consumers. Although I don’t think we need a patent trial to tell us that big corporations in any niche keep tabs on the competition and their newly launched devices, do we?

It’ll be interesting to follow the trial in the coming weeks – we have at least three weeks to go, if not more, so get ready for more hot-spirited action between the two sides.