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Was Steve Jobs wrong about 7-inch tablets?
Google's Nexus 7 has drawn rave reviews and retailers are running out of the popular gadget, fueling debate that the late Apple boss was wrong about smaller tablets
 
A journalist tries out Google's Nexus 7: The diminutive tablet may not be perfect, but its price and portability have made it a major competitor to  the iPad.
A journalist tries out Google's Nexus 7: The diminutive tablet may not be perfect, but its price and portability have made it a major competitor to  the iPad.
Mathew Sumner/Getty Images

During an earnings call in 2010, Steve Jobs brought the hammer down on rumors that Apple was preparing to pull the curtains off a 7-inch iPad. The late founder decreed the smaller form "useless," unless manufacturers included "sandpaper so users can sand their fingers down to a quarter of their size." But now under the stewardship of Tim Cook, persistent rumors of a budget-priced, smaller iPad are more resounding than ever. Meanwhile, stores can't stock Google's sparkling new Nexus 7 tablet — with its 7-inch screen — fast enough. Was Jobs, who was famously stubborn about getting his way, wrong about a one-size-fits-all business model?

Google has clearly proved Jobs wrong: When Jobs offered his prediction, every 7-inch tablet on the market "totally sucked," says Farhad Manjoo at Slate. The sleek new Nexus 7 rewrote the rulebook. It's not as fast as an iPad, but that's just a quibble. The Nexus 7 is the best entry-level tab on the market, and at just $199, it's a downright steal for anyone who wants a "cheap, portable device for completing a few basic tasks." Users won't have to sand down their fingers to tap and swipe with ease, either. 
"Steve Jobs was wrong"

Actually, his argument hold ups: Nothing has really changed in the tablet world, says Ina Fried at All Things D. Sure, pixel density has improved tremendously thanks to the Retina display iPad. "But, as far as I know, fingers haven't gotten any smaller in the last two years." Although Jobs himself was famous for "panning a market" right before he entered it (see: the iPod and video), his argument that a smaller tablet's limited real estate equates a lesser user experience still holds merit.  
"The 7-inch iPad's biggest critic: Steve Jobs"

Jobs himself would probably change his tune: Jobs was stubborn, says Louie Herr at Digital Trends, but as we learned from Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview, the technology wunderkind "didn't care about being right," he cared "about success" (See: iTunes on Windows). His argument that a 7-inch tablet would be "dead on arrival" may have been "intractable" in 2010, but now there's obviously money to be made by Apple in the budget tablet space. Technology has improved, so prices have dropped without a decrease in quality, and consumers are demonstrating that they want more sizing options — all things that would have made Jobs realize that he was wrong. 
"WWSJD? Why even Steve Jobs would support a 7-inch iPad today"

 

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