Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 1:53 pm.

You Don’t Know Jack: A Friendly Reminder From Apple v. Samsung

Eddy Cue iPad Email

Eddy Cue’s smaller-iPad email, via All Things Digital.

A good amount of the skepticism about Apple’s supposedly forthcoming 8-inch iPad mini can be traced back to remarks Steve Jobs made on Oct. 18, 2010, during Apple’s fall earnings call. (“This size is useless unless you include sandpaper so users can sand their fingers down to a quarter of their size.”)

And, why not? When you have such rare access into Apple’s collective thoughts, it’s only natural to use the limited data you have.

But as more recent evidence suggests, Apple — and even Steve Jobs — might not have been so skeptical about the prospects for a smaller tablet, after all. See the email above, introduced in this week’s Apple v. Samsung trial, via All Things Digital, with highlighting mine.

Here, iTunes boss Eddy Cue says Steve Jobs had become “very receptive” to the idea of a smaller iPad in the period between Thanksgiving, 2010, and Jan. 24, 2011, when Cue sent this email to then-COO Tim Cook, iOS boss Scott Forstall, and marketing chief Phil Schiller.

Was he really? Who knows. And, anyway, that, too, was 1.5 years ago. Apple’s leaders may have changed their minds since then, too, perhaps multiple times.

That’s one of the best parts of being human — you’re allowed to change your mind. If anything, this brings me back to Tim Cook’s anecdote at this year’s D conference, where he described how Jobs could flip his thinking 180 degrees and strongly support a viewpoint he thought was barbaric the day before.

(Not to mention Jobs’ habit of deliberately trashing product ideas while Apple was already working on them, like a video iPod, or a phone, or a netbook-sized Mac.)

Anyway, I guess the lesson here is that we never know as much as we think we do. Maybe that’s obvious. And I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t speculate about future Apple products or its decision-making based on existing public data — it’s a lot of fun, and Apple is habitual enough that it’s often correct to do so.

But, at the same time, realize it’s just an exercise. You (and I) probably have no idea what we’re talking about.

Also: What Apple Propaganda Looked Like 15 Years Ago