The "iPad mini" rumor mill continued this morning with a report from the Wall Street Journal that said Apple's overseas suppliers are prepping for the production of an iPad that will be less than 8 inches in size.
Citing component suppliers, the Journal said Apple will work with LG Display and AU Optronics on the display.
The news follows a Tuesday report from Bloomberg that also said Apple was prepping an iPad with a 7 or 8in screen, which will be announced in October and released by year's end.
In a Thursday note to investors, Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White said the Journal's report confirms what he said in autumn and last month.
"During our June trip to Asia, we discussed our expectation that Apple could unveil the 'iPad Mini' this September and in sync with the debut of the iPhone 5," White wrote this morning.
White said a smaller iPad would open Apple up to those in developing countries like China, where consumers might not be able to afford the larger, 9.7in iPad. Globally, however, customers also might just want a smaller iPad for convenience, and it might be more suitable for younger users.
"A 7.85-inch 'iPad Mini' would likely prove less obtrusive during social outings and more easily tucked into a purse or jacket than a 9.7-inch iPad," White said.
The analyst predicted that a smaller iPad would impact the larger tablet by a "relatively minor" range of 10 to 20 per cent.
"Although we would expect the 'iPad Mini' to have a lower margin profile versus the current iPad, the magnitude of the difference will largely depend on what features are left out of the smaller iPad and thus the gap could be relatively minor," White said.
Topeka expects the iPad mini to be priced between $250-$300 (between £160 and £200), which will "lure certain consumers away from these competitors with an overall better experience that includes a much more robust ecosystem."
Reports of a smaller iPad have been circulating for months, of course. Apple launched its new iPad earlier this year and is expected to unveil a revamped iPhone in the fall, but has thus far not made any mention of a smaller iPad.
Would you buy a smaller "iPad mini"? Let us know in the comments.
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