Apple rumoured to be testing smaller iPad

Excited about the imminent arrival of a new iPad? Well, we just might see a second iPad, as Apple is rumoured to be testing a smaller tablet.

Yes, the good old iPad mini, last rumoured in December and then…well, to be honest, falling to the back of our minds as the iPad 3 took centre stage. Back then, it was said to feature a 7.85-inch screen (as opposed to the 9.7-inch screen of the big brother) and was geared to a launch just ahead of Christmas 2012. The new story, which comes from the Wall Street Journal, more or less backs up that earlier story.

The publication claims Apple is currently working with component suppliers in Asia to test a tablet with a smaller screen. That's according to 'people familiar with the situation'. Yes, that old one. It adds that Apple is keen on a smaller and cheaper iPad to to keep the 'intensifying competition' at bay and maintain its dominant market share. No mention of the KIndle Fire, but that's got to be what we're talking about here.

The new tablet is said to have a similar resolution screen as the iPad 2, with Apple working with screen makers including Taiwan-based AU Optronics and LG in South Korea for the test panels. Of course, Apple could decide it doesn't quite work, but it does sound like a winning strategy.

'Samsung's 5.3-inch Galaxy Note and Amazon's seven-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 at Capital Securities in Taipei. '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.'

Apple, obviously, isn't commenting. Don't expect this at that March launch, but we really wouldn't be surprised to see the 'budget' iPad hitting the market hard in the run up to Christmas.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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