"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."
He said the resolution of the display could be increased to make up for the smaller size, but that would be "meaningless, unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of the present size."
"There are clear limits of how close you can physically place elements on a touch screen before users cannot reliably tap, flick or pinch them. This is one of the key reasons we think the 10-inch screen size is the minimum size required to create great tablet apps," he said.
Jobs didn't mention that Apple has had great success developing software that uses taps, flicks and pinches for the iPhone, which has a screen one quarter of the size he was attacking.
Jobs, who died last October, had strong opinions, but he also changed his mind frequently. The production of a smaller iPad would not be the first time that Apple has made a product that Jobs initially dismissed as ridiculous.
In an internal email sent in January 2011, Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue said that a 7-inch tablet would work well and that Jobs was starting to come around to the idea. The email surfaced as part of Apple's patent trial against Samsung Electronics Co. this year.
Apart from the smaller iPad, Apple is also expected to refresh some other products. There's speculation that the MacBook will come in a version with a 13-inch, high-resolution "Retina" screen. The 15-inch MacBook got an option for a Retina screen this summer.