Apple exec: We should do a 7-inch tablet

The courtroom drama surrounding the Apple-Samsung trial going on right now has resulted in a lot of legal theatrics and offered an interesting view into Apple’s product development of the original iPhone and iPad. Not much that has been said on the witness stand by Apple employees called to testify has been particularly revealing about Apple’s future plans. Until this afternoon. Apple’s SVP of iOS Software, Scott Forstall, just gave testimony that seemed to back up the recent reports that Apple is prepping a smaller iPad for sale.

Eddy Cue, Apple SVP of internet software and services

On the stand Forstall was asked to read an email sent to him, as well as CEO Tim Cook and others, by fellow Apple executive Eddy Cue in January 2011. AllThingsD, reporting from inside the San Jose, Calif. courtroom, recorded Forstall’s reading of the email:

“I believe there will be a 7-inch market and we should do one,” Cue wrote in the e-mail, which forwarded an article written by a reporter that switched from the iPad to a 7-inch Samsung tablet. “I tend to agree with man of the comments below,” Cue wrote.

Turns out that “article” in question was this one, by our own Kevin Tofel.

CNBC reporter John Fortt, who was also present for the testimony, reports on Twitter that Steve Jobs (who was famously anti-7-inch tablets) “seemed receptive” to the idea.

This is obviously going to add to the speculation — backed up reports from Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal and others — that Apple is set to introduce a smaller iPad perhaps as early as next month.

This post was updated Aug. 4, 4:37 a.m. with detail about the article in question.