WSJ: Apple Is Working With Suppliers To Test 8-Inch iPad Mini

WSJ: Apple Is Working With Suppliers To Test 8-Inch iPad Mini

With so many rumors surrounding a smaller iPad of late, even the most skeptical amongst us are beginning to believe. The latest reports comes from The Wall Street Journal, which claims Apple and its suppliers are currently testing a new tablet with a smaller screen said to be around eight inches, that will “broaden its product pipeline amid intensifying competition.”

Apple officials, who chose not to be named for obvious reasons, claim that they have already seen screen designs for the new device, which will feature a resolution similar to that of the iPad 2’s display:

Officials at some of Apple’s suppliers, who declined to be named, said the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has shown them screen designs for a new device with a screen size of around 8-inches, and said it is qualifying suppliers for it. [...]

One person said the smaller device will have a similar resolution screen as the iPad 2.

By packing the iPad 2’s resolution into an 8-inch display, the tablet would feature a high-resolution screen that would fit in nicely next to a Retina Display iPad 3. What’s more, by using the same resolution as an existing device, iPad developers will not need to modify their titles for the smaller tablet.

Apple is said to be working with AU Optronics Co. and LG Display to supply the test panels, according to the source.

As The Wall Street Journal’s report acknowledges, however, Apple is known for testing new products and prototypes which actually never make it to market. While a smaller iPad may indeed be in testing, that’s certainly no guarantee that it’ll ever end up in the Apple store.

Rumors of an “iPad mini” have been circulating for some time, and they were boosted late last year when Amazon launched its popular 7-inch Kindle Fire. Many now believe that Apple will attempt to rival the device with a smaller tablet of its own, though it’s possibly the Cupertino company could simply reduce its iPad 2 to a more affordable price tag.

  • WVMikeP

    Touch targets would become smaller.

    •sigh•

  • ddevito

    I thought Mr. Jobs ranted about never making a smaller iPad.

    You can thank Android for this one.

  • Josh Whitmore

    Maybe I am missing something, but aren’t the touch targets small on the iPhone and iPod Touch? They would be at least larger than those devices and it doesn’t seem to me that they would be that much smaller on a 7 or 8 inch screen. Maybe I am not understanding the touch technology.

  • WVMikeP

    They’re the same size as the ones on the iPad.  Scaling down the iPad UI, which is what would happen if you made an 8″ iPad with today’s 10″ iPad resolution, would shrink the size of all buttons and other touch targets.  Apple has standardized the size of buttons on the width of the average human index fingertip for good reason.

  • freighttrain2126

    That’s funny, just the other day I was playing around with the wife’s playbook and commented how I really dug the small form factor, but that the 7″ screen was too small, but that maybe by reducing the bezel you could get an 8″ screen in there would make it much more usefull. I still want my 9.7″ retina display iPad though.

  • Shane Bryson

    WILL NEVER HAPPEN. Stop publishing this crap.
     

  • Pifman

    “What’s more, by using the same resolution as an existing device, iPad developers will not need to modify their titles for the smaller tablet.”
    Sorry, but this simply isn’t true. Doing so would make all target areas (buttons) that much smaller. You can’t simply crunch the same amount of pixels into a physically smaller space and not make your entire UI smaller when doing so. And Apple has a strict Human Interface Guideline regarding the minimum size of buttons to better your touch experience.

  • Pifman

    Exactly what WVMikeP said. A “button” on an iPhone is the same size as a button on an iPad. The size of the interface isn’t smaller/bigger, there’s just less/more room for interface and content.

    Which is why a 7″ or 8″ Apple device would require a new resolution and require developers to submit at a new size.

  • crateish

    Nope. That size space is for iPad wannabes. If I wanted a lesser tablet, I’d get a Kindle Fire.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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