Apple Testing Smaller 8-Inch iPad With Suppliers

Since the Kindle Fire release, we’ve heard a lot of rumors about Apple’s supposed Mini iPad, which is supposed to be a smaller, more affordable version of the Cupertino-based company’s wildly popular 10-inch iPad 2.

According to new information from The Wall Street Journal, a smaller iPad may be more than just a rumor. Officials at some of Apple’s component suppliers in Asia say that Apple has been working on testing a new tablet with a smaller screen.

The suppliers have been shown screen designs for a new device with a screen that is around eight inches, and apparently, Apple may be working with screen manufacturers like AU Optronics Co. and LG Display. One source says that the device has a similar resolution to the current iPad.

Of course, Apple often works with suppliers to test new designs, and the presence of a smaller iPad doesn’t mean that Apple will go ahead and proceed with manufacturing the device.

A smaller tablet would help Apple compete with lower priced tablets (like the Kindle Fire and the Samsung Galaxy Note), but former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was famously against the diminutive devices. He firmly believed that the iPad’s 9.7-inch form factor was the minimum size necessary for “great tablet apps.”

Apple’s next event is expected to come on March 7th, announcing the next generation iPad. This one will be full sized, but Apple’s been known to throw a curve ball or two. Just because we’re getting the regular iPad doesn’t mean a smaller version can’t be released later this year.

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