updated 04:50 pm EDT, Thu October 7, 2010
Could suggest 9.7-inch size will stay
(Updated with possible counter-rumor) An electronics repair company, Mission:Repair, claims to have to obtained evidence that a next-generation iPad will use not one but two dock connectors. Photos show an alleged back for the tablet, with a second 30-pin port located along one of the long edges. The addition appears to be intended to allow landscape docking, something impossible with the current iPad unless using a special dock or stand.
Given its size, if the part is genuine, it suggests that the reported 7-inch iPad is either a secondary model -- as has been speculated -- or simply non-existent. The 7-inch hardware has also recently been described has having a micro or mini USB port, not an extra 30-pin connector. Aside from allowing landscape docking however, the latter would also offer the advantage of supporting existing iPad accessories.
Update: A separate source alleged that this was a discarded prototype for the current model and not a sign of a replacement, although this couldn't be authoritatively confirmed by Engadget's contact.