BY EVAN THOMAS
ANCHOR CHRISTINA HARTMAN
Would a smaller iPad make another big splash? Apple might be considering it, according to rumors out of Asia.
The Wall Street Journal is citing anonymous sources somewhere inside Apple’s manufacturing chain, who say Apple’s talking with its suppliers about shaving some screen off the current iPad.
“We’re hearing that Apple is working with component suppliers in Asia to test a smaller-screened tablet. The ipad 2 is 9.7 inches, but it’s working with some of its suppliers in Asia to test an 8-inch tablet device.”
The Journal says the eight-incher is still in a testing phase, and Gizmodo says it’s likely to stay that way. Apple doesn’t need to diversify.
“Apple has no reason to sell a smaller iPad. None. It dominates its category in the way that virtually no other product anywhere does. Does that mean that Apple's not testing out an 8-inch model? Of course not. But let's not confuse due diligence for a treasure map.”
Domination is right, according to PCWorld. Even with the recent upswing in Android tablets, the iPad is holding on to nearly 60 percent of the market.
“By any measure, Apple's iPad sales are far stronger than the rest of the tablet market. So strong, in fact, that the only way to make it look like the iPad has any competition at all is to combine every single tablet that's not the iPad into one monolithic category.”
But GigaOM suggests that’s no reason to ignore the potential of a midsize tablet.
“Smaller devices are more portable, making them easier to carry and use in a wider range of locations. Given the growing number of Kindle Fire and Nook Tablets I’m seeing, clearly there’s a market for smaller slates.”
VentureBeat agrees. A smaller Apple device would likely attract customers looking for a lower price point -- or something a little easier to handle.
“There are some consumers that simply prefer the 7- or 8-inch form factor simply because its lighter and better for reading during extended periods.”
If anything comes of the rumors, it won’t be soon, says the Wall Street Journal. Apple has more immediate concerns -- the iPad 3 is said to be launching as soon as March.