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

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How would a smaller iPad fit into Apple's iOS product lineup?
How would a smaller iPad fit into Apple's iOS product lineup?

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.