Steve Jobs Didn’t Believe there was a Market for iPad Mini, Thank Goodness for Tim Cook

Tim Cook by Minh Uong, courtesy of the New York Times

Tim Cook by Minh Uong, courtesy of the New York Times

On Sunday, the New York Times published a profile piece about Apple CEO Tim Cook. In it, the author describes Cook as an environmentalist and humanitarian who has been building Apple into a well-rounded tech company with a team of leaders, instead of the one-man-at-the-helm company it was under former CEO Steve Jobs. Both methods have proven successful, but investors and analysts are still comparing Cook’s methods to Jobs’ methods and coming out disappointed.

One thing Cook did differently than Jobs was to recognize the market desire for a smaller, low-cost tablet. Without Cook, the iPad mini would never have existed.

According to the New York Times, Apple board member and chief executive of Disney Robert A. Iger said Cook “thought the world would love a smaller and less expensive tablet.” Iger also noted that Jobs didn’t think there was a market for the 7.9-inch tablet.

Years ago, before rumors of the iPad mini had even begun, Jobs famously told investors that a seven-inch tablet would be “dead on arrival.” In a quarterly conference call in fall of 2010, Jobs called smaller sized tablets “tweeners” that are “too big to compete with the smartphone and too small to compete with the iPad.”

Thanks to Cook’s faith in the market, the iPad mini launched in fall of 2012.

By March of 2013, the iPad mini was on track to outsell its big brother. According to Gartner and ABI Research, the 7.9-inch tablet generated an estimated 60 percent of iPad sales in its first year.

The iPad mini isn’t the only innovation that Cook has been in charge of since he too over. Investors and financial analysts might be looking for new gadgets to feed the bottom line, but Cook has been vocal about the need for changes in regulations for human rights and environmentalism.

Cook wrote an editorial piece for the New York Times in November of 2013 asking congress to “strike a blow” against discrimination with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Apple also became the first tech company to join the human rights watchdog organization, the Fair Labor Association, in 2012. That same year, the iPad maker began publishing yearly Supplier Responsibility reports in an effort to be more transparent with the public regarding conditions in overseas supplier plants that are contracted to work with Apple.

Under the leadership of Cook, Apple has also pledged to work toward becoming a more environmentally friendly corporation. The company has converted its data centers to 100 percent renewable energy sources and is implementing many other pro-environmental changes.

The “next big thing” from Apple may not be a piece of technology that will somehow make our lives more convenient or give us easier access to media content. However, Cook has lead the way in innovation when it comes to being a tech company that focuses more on humanitarian and environmental issues than its investors’ bottom line.

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About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik