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Steve Jobs was 'very receptive' to 7-inch iPad idea, court documents show

An email presented in the Apple v. Samsung trial on Friday from Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue to iOS chief Scott Forstall hints that discussions of building a smaller 7-inch iPad were in motion since at least 2011 and may have had the backing of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

The email from January of 2011 was revealed by Samsung as evidence in the company's cross-examination of Forstall, reports The Verge, though the exact purpose of presenting the exhibit is unknown.

From The Verge:

Wow. Forstall is shown a 2011 email from Eddy Cue, in which Cue forwarded an article that a journalist wrote about dumping the iPad after using a Galaxy Tab. Cue writes "Having used a Samsung Galaxy [Tab], i tend to agree with many of the comments below... I believe there will be a 7-inch market and we should do one. I expressed this to Steve several times since Thanksgiving and he seemed very receptive the last time."

When asked in 2010 about the prospect of a smaller iPad, Jobs said, "The reason we [won't] make a 7-inch tablet isn't because we don't want to hit that price point, it's because we think the screen is too small to express the software. As a software driven company we think about the software strategies first." He went on to say the 7-inch form factor "isn't sufficient to create great tablet apps."

Cue's email is in line with swirling rumors of an upcoming "iPad mini" which is expected to take on a smaller 7.85-inch form factor and may see a fall release. In July, a purported "engineering sample" of the device was pictured, showing reconfigured speaker placement and the smaller dock connector first seen on rumored iPhone prototypes. The number of pins or electrical contacts in the supposed connector is disputed, however, as previous reports said Apple would cut the number to 19 while more recent claims point to an 8-pin solution.

Source: CNet

Sources say the new iPad model will use older screen technology identical to the iPhone 3GS instead of newer Retina display tech to ease costs and help with manufacturing ramp-up.

Apple is also rumored to be preparing for a Sept. 12 special event that many believe will see the debut of a next-generation iPhone.