Apple working on 8-inch iPad model?

In addition to the high-end third generation iPad, Apple may be looking at releasing a smaller tablet running on the iOS platform.

The news about a possible 8-inch iPad comes from the Wall Street Journal, who says that suppliers have been shown designs of new, smaller tablets by Apple, though the sources wish to remain anonymous.

Previously analysts have made similar suggestions about Apple trying to take on challengers like Amazon who has won a number of admirers with its Kindle series, and more recently the Kindle Fire.

The compact tablet from Amazon, alongside others like the B&N Nook, appeals to entry level users with a fairly encouraging price tag of $200. In addition, Kindle Fire with its 7-inch display offers a more portable size, suitable for commuters who need to carry and access their devices without much fuss.

For Android fans who have higher expectations from their tablets, Samsung came up with a 7-inch Galaxy Tab, part of a series that made quite an impression on the market.

Under the circumstances, Apple is likely to tap into this market potential with a smaller size tablet. However, the development process appears to be at a relatively early stage, so we're unlikely to see a mini iPad release for a good few months yet.