Opponents of the rumored iPad mini have continued to recall Jobs’ disdain for a smaller screen as evidence that it won’t happen. And technically, they’re right. The CEO has been quoted as saying 7-inch displays are too small.

But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. And in fact, according to an internal email that just popped up in the ongoing Samsung-Apple trial, the CEO actually showed some interest in the idea as recent as January 2011.

Updated: screenshot of the actual email thread after the break…

CNET shares a copy of the email thread:

The email came up during a line of questioning with Apple’s SVP of iOS software Scott Forstall on the stand. The Verge reports:

“Wow. Forstall is shown a 2011 email from Eddy Cue, in which Cue forwarded an article that a journalist wrote about dumping the iPad after using a Galaxy Tab. Cue writes “Having used a Samsung Galaxy [Tab], I tend to agree with many of the comments below…I believe there will be a 7-inch market and we should do one. I expressed this to Steve several times since Thanksgiving and he seemed very receptive the last time.”

This is interesting, to say the least, as it comes amidst a flurry of rumors and reports claiming that Apple will be unveiling an all-new 7.85-inch tablet this fall.

Many folks believe that a smaller iPad would be Apple’s response to Google’s new Nexus 7 tablet, but it’s obvious they’ve been thinking about it for quite a while.