An interesting new report from DigiTimes claims that Apple is likely to launch a 7.85-inch iPad just before the final quarter of 2012 in order to compete with the Amazon Kindle Fire.
However, in order to cope with increasing market competition including the 7-inch Kindle Fire from Amazon and the launch of large-size smartphones from handset vendors, Apple has been persuaded into the development of 7.85-inch iPads, the sources indicated.
As usual, it’s unclear what Apple might actually have in the works, but MacRumors suggests that, due to the significant amount of attention such a device has received in the past year, “it seems certain that Apple has at least been prototyping one”.
The 7-inch iPad would likely feature the same resolution as the current iPad 2 and the original iPad, helping to further distinguish the device from a possible iPad 3 with a Retina display expected to launch early next year.
I’m not so convinced, especially considering that nearly every 7-inch tablet produced so far has been a commercial failure, and the Kindle Fire, while it has been successful, really isn’t a direct competitor to the iPad (and many have concluded that the Kindle Fire doesn’t provide a very tablet-like experience at all).
Coupling that with Steve Jobs’ previous public distain of 7-inch tablets, suggesting that users would need to “sand down their fingers” to use them, and there’s good reason to doubt rumors of a smaller iPad.
Still, only time will tell, but I’ll be taking this with at least one grain of salt (and probably more).