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Fresh rumors surface of Apple testing smaller iPad

updated 06:55 am EST, Tue February 14, 2012

Apple could be prepping 8-inch iPad

A fresh rumor has surfaced suggesting that Apple may be sampling 8-inch tablet displays from AU Optronics and LG Display, according to WSJ . Apple is known to experiment with different displays for its devices, which do not always make it to market. However, while most people opt for 10-inch tablets where the iPad dominates, smaller tablets such as the Amazon Kindle Fire have made significant inroads into the expanding tablet market, costing Apple total market share.

'Samsung's 5.3-inch Galaxy Note and Amazon's 7-inch Kindle Fire have been selling well. It means consumers want a tablet that is smaller than the existing 9.7-inch iPad,' said Diana Wu, an analyst with Capital Securities. '[The] iPad's features are good enough, but pricing would be an important factor in the mass market, especially in big emerging markets like China and India.'

Although the late Steve Jobs argued that the optimal size for a tablet the size of the current iPad was 'the minimum size required to create great tablet apps,' Apple's share of the total tablet market has slipped to over 60 percent of world-wide tablet shipments. Although Market share has not necessarily been a driving force for Apple as it has generally avoided addressing the lower end of the market, retaining a sizable overall market share remains critical to the company.

Manufacturers have had the most success when competing in the tablet space by targeting devices at around 7-inches, where Apple does not currently offer a direct alternative. An 8-inch iPad may offer users who are looking for the added mobility in a tablet, without sacrificing too much of the user experience enjoyed with a larger display. Further, with Apple moving to higher resolution displays, it is perhaps more feasible to offer a smaller tablet 8-inch tablet with a similar resolution to the current 9.7-inch model, without forcing developers to accommodate yet another set of screen dimensions.

Rumors of Apple testing a smaller iPad first surfaced in late December. At the time, Digitimes reported that AU Optronics and LG Display were again the supposed suppliers of a 7.85-inch display. However, if it did materialize, and Apple moved to ship such a device, it was thought that it would not go into production until Q2 this year with shipments commencing in Q3.

Apple is expected to reveal a 9.7-inch iPad 3 on March 7.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. enzos

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2008


    not a small iPad

    that's be stupid. A large iPod touch mainly for enhanced gaming and also as an iBook reader.

  1. MacGeek.

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2011


    Smaller iPad..

    would cannabalize the sales of iPad 3. It would be irrational behavior on Apple's part to release a smaller iPad.

  1. Herod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007


    no no no

    its a very large iPod shuffle. come on get it right.

  1. facebook_Jairo

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2012


    smaller iPad

    if they are going to do a smaller one a 2s version instead than ... same size with better cameras and better resolution and Siri

  1. SierraDragon

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Mar 2004


    Makes sense...

    Suggesting that Apple should only make one size (of anything, really) is like the US auto manufacturers failing to aggressively go after making small cars in the 1960s. Look how well that worked out for them.

    IMO it makes sense to also offer a smaller iPad. There are plenty of usages (e-reading and GPS are just two) where a smaller size would actually be preferable. And with high resolution displays small sizes work well.

    Sure there will be some cannibalization of the large size iPad, but Apple makes the sales and the world market is huge.

    Also a slightly larger iPhone and and at some point a nano iPhone too. With the huge size of the demand for Apple's mobile devices adding size choices is totally logical product differentiation as the space matures. For Apple to STAGNATE at one size forever would be nuts - look for evolution similar to what happened with the iPod line.

  1. brainiac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2003


    I agree with everyone

    Apple was doing much better when they had more choices for users and many different models of computer like quadra, centris, performa, etc. More is better.

  1. Flyingjoe

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2010


    I think it works...

    Doing an 8" iPad, with same resolution as the iPad 2, would make a great replacement for it. Smaller screen so higher DPI would look like an improvement along with a lower weight - will compete well against the kindle Fire. The iPad 3 with double resolution will be so attractive to the eye that it will stand head and shoulders above its smaller cousin.

    It can be the "MacPro" line for Pros and Nerds and those who want the best, while the 8" is the "iMac" for schools, seniors and the practical sort.

    I just wonder if Apple will want to avoid anything too close to an already successful product, the Kindle Fire, as it will draw far more comparisons.

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