“The reason we wouldn’t make a 7-inch tablet isn’t because we don’t want to hit a price point. It’s because we don’t think you can make a great tablet with a 7-inch screen,” Jobs said. “The 7-inch tablets are tweeners, too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad.”
Job’s chief objection was that a smaller screen would make it hard to hit buttons on the screen with the fingers _ never mind that Apple’s iPhone, with an even smaller screen, was already a hit at the time.
Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue started working on changing Jobs’ mind. In an email sent to other Apple managers in January 2011, Cue said the CEO had started warming to the idea of a smaller tablet. The email surfaced as part of Apple’s patent trial against Samsung Electronics Co. this year. Jobs died last October.
Company watchers have been expecting the iPad Mini for a year and most of the details, except the price, had leaked out.
Apple also said it’s upgrading its full-size iPad, doubling the speed of the processor. Previously, the company has updated the iPad once a year.
The fourth-generation iPad will have a better camera and work on more LTE wireless data networks around the world. Apple is also replacing the 30-pin dock connector with the new, smaller Lightning connector introduced with the iPhone 5 a month ago.
The price of the new full-size model stays the same as the previous version, starting at $499 for a Wi-Fi-only version with 16 gigabytes of memory.
Apple also introduced a 13-inch MacBook Pro laptop with a Retina display sporting four times the resolution of the older model.
The new model, which follows a 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Retina display introduced in June, goes on sale Tuesday for $1,699.
The old MacBook Pro will still be sold, starting at $1,199.
The new model dispenses with an optical disc drive and a traditional hard drive. Instead, it uses solid-state flash memory. This makes it 20 percent thinner and at 3.75 pounds, nearly a pound lighter than the previous model.
Apple also eliminated the optical drive from its new iMac desktop computer, helping slim the edges down to 5 millimeters, one-fifth the thickness of the old model. That makes the edges thinner than most stand-alone computer monitors. It bulges in middle of the back, however.
An iMac model with a 21.5-inch screen will start shipping in November for $1,299 and up. A 27-inch version will start at $1,799.
Svensson contributed from New York.