Despite Apple’s vocal rejection of tablets smaller than 10 inches in the past, UDN reports that Apple has ordered 7.85-inch display samples from both LG and AU Optronics to test in a possible smaller version of the iPad.
The report indicates that this 52 percent increase in the display size would also offer a 52% sharper resolution, as well as a lower price point, which would be a significant factor in Apple marketing the iPad to emerging markets.
Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White has also noted that his research suggests that Apple may be preparing to release an “iPad mini” next year, although he used the term to refer to price rather than size:
…Our research is pointing to the unveiling of a lower priced iPad in the first few months of 2012 that is aimed at expanding the company’s market potential by tapping into a more price sensitive consumer segment. Essentially, this “iPad mini” will also fend off the recently announced Amazon Kindle Fire that addresses the low-end tablet market with a $199 price tag…The “mini” refers to a reduced price point of this iPad and not necessarily the size of the device. We believe this lower priced iPad could be priced in the mid-to-high-$200 range.
All this talk of an iPad with a smaller screen is unconfirmed, and should be taken as nothing more the speculation at this point. Apple has rejected the idea of a smaller tablet in the past, with late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs declaring that users would have to sand down their fingers in order to operate such a tablet.