Almost since the launch of the original iPad in 2010, rumors have been flying about that Apple would release a smaller version of the device – something that split the difference between the 10-inch screen of the iPad and the 3.5-inch screen of the iPhone.
Of course, none of these rumors have ever panned out – Apple has stood by its current iOS lineup, and Steve Jobs even famously said that a 10-inch screen was the minimum, and that anything in between the iPad and iPhone would feel like a scaled-up smartphone instead of a smaller tablet.
Now, however, two months after Jobs’ passing, DigiTimes is citing their sources in Apple’s supply chain and claiming that Apple is purchasing 7.85-inch tablet panels from manufacturers, including LG Display. A smaller iPad tablet would be a direct response to Amazon’s Kindle Fire, as well as other 7-inch Android devices.
Jobs’ recent death may lend some weight to this latest round of iPad Mini rumors. Now that he is no longer calling the shots at Apple, his objections to a smaller tablet could conceivably be ignored, and Apple could be making plans to launch the device, which DigiTimes claims would launch late in the second quarter of 2012. Even so, these rumors should probably be taken with a huge grain of salt. So far the iPad Mini has proven to be like the end of the world: often predicted, never arriving.[Source: DigiTimes]