Apple, suppliers test iPad with smaller 8-inch screen, sources say

“Apple Inc. is working with component suppliers in Asia to test a new tablet computer with a smaller screen, people familiar with the situation said, as it looks to broaden its product pipeline amid intensifying competition and maintain its dominant market share,” Lorraine Luk and Jessica E. Vascellaro report for The Wall Street Journal.

“Officials at some of Apple’s suppliers, who declined to be named, said the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has shown them screen designs for a new device with a screen size of around 8-inches, and said it is qualifying suppliers for it.,” Luk and Vascellaro report. “Apple’s latest tablet, the iPad 2, comes with a 9.7-inch screen. It was launched last year.”

Luk and Vascellaro report, “One person said the smaller device will have a similar resolution screen as the iPad 2. Apple is working with screen makers including Taiwan-based AU Optronics Co. and LG Display Co. of South Korea to supply the test panels, the person said… The move comes as Apple is preparing to announce a new iPad in early March, according to people familiar with the matter. That device is expected to have a higher resolution screen than the iPad 2 with a similar screen size, according to people familiar with the matter. A version will run on fourth-generation wireless networks from Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc.”

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27 Comments

  1. and soon it will come with a medical scanner built in and teleport option… Remote starship control will be a free app when you buy the starship.

    iPad 16, now with cinema display in the palm of your hand.

    rumors are so fun.

  2. Apple makes all kinds of prototypes to test, so this news does not mean anything concretely yet.

    Apple has very innovative patent that covers capacitive-type near-field technology that would allow device to detect user’s finger before it actually touches the screen.

    With this, Apple can come up with smaller device that would automatically scale up UI interface once when applicable.

    This would make possible avoiding any fragmentation issues between smaller and bigger tablets.

    However, I am not sure that this technology is ready for market. But without it, I doubt that Apple will release such smaller device for mass production.

    1. SJ said lots of things. Some of them were undoubtedly intended as misdirection for would-be competitors. Others? Well, perhaps he occasionally changed his mind. For instance, I recall SJ saying that no one would want to watch video on a tiny screen (iPod). He also said something to the effect that no one reads books anymore. As far as the sanded fingertips and tiny screen tablets comment, I can only point to the success of the tiny screen iPhone and iPod touch that seem to work just fine with normal-sized fingertips.

      The point that I would like to emphasize is that SJ was neither omniscient or infallible. Every human being filters the world through his or her own unique biases and beliefs, and some are more successful than others. The Apple team, both with and without SJ, did a lot of insanely great things over the past few decades. And I believe that the Apple team will continue to innovate going forward. Innovation requires taking chances by exploring and challenging commonly held beliefs.

      The key “SJ factors” that Apple needs to maintain are:
      (1) User experience is crucial
      (2) Product value is enhanced by a seamless connection to an intuitive, integrated product ecosystem
      (3) Product simplicity and focus are virtues, even at the expense of consumer choice
      (4) Only the very best products should make it to market. The rest should either be refined until ready, or shelved until the missing pieces fall into place.

      The early Macs had tiny, low resolution displays. But they worked. My mid-1990s PowerBook had a 9.5″ passive matrix LCD, but it worked. I firmly believe that there is a large potential market for a smaller, more portable iPad. Shrink the current iPad 1024×768 display for the smaller iPad, and save the extra pixels for the larger iPad.

  3. The only useful use for a smaller screen would be as input pads for retailers and organizations like FedEx and UPS.

    Problem is that reducing size also will reduce the price and hurt apple’s margins. They could go with the iPhone approach by offering last years tech.

  4. If an 8″ tablet does not fit into the pocket, it is not any more portable than a 11″ display. If you want portability, get an iPhone or an iPod Touch (remember those?).

    I have, yet, see any prediction that is as “cool” as the actual Apple product when it is introduced. Remember, these psychics and their counterpart, the naysayers, have all of the scientific ability of Zelda, the local palm reader.

  5. A smaller iPad would make sense if it was targeted more as a media device. But, a larger iPod Touch would be better, I believe, in a marketing sense. As in all rumors, we will have to wait out this storm of loose articles and few supporting facts.

  6. I guess people haven’t seen the newest Amazon Kindle commercial.. in the commercial it directly compares the Fire to iPad. The underlying message of the commercial is for the price of an iPad, you can get 2 Kindles and 1 Kindle Fire for cheaper instead. The commercial implies that you can get the same functionality as an iPad for dirt cheap.

    It would make sense for Apple to enter the low end market of tablets. A low price tag for an 8″ tablet would definitely crimp on Amazon’s plans to compete with the iPad.

    On another note, to the naysayers of a smaller form iPad:
    Steve Jobs also said the iPod would never have video at one point. So, his stance on things were fluid and not stagnant. He would realize there is a market for one, and wouldn’t let Amazon get away with such a commercial without having an answer for it to properly shut them up. Also, if a smaller form iPad would require smaller fingers then how do you explain the iPhone?

    Apple could make a $299 8″ tablet that would disarm Amazon’s perceived price advantage.

  7. For many people an 8″ iPad would be ideal. It’s the same size as a paperback book, it fits a pocket nicely, it’s easier to browse web pages, it’s ideal for navigating with, and a more practical size for gaming. As a replacement for the Touch, it would be perfect, especially with 128Gb on board.

  8. When will people stop spewing false information? There will never be a smaller iPad because Apple does not see the smaller Android tablets as a threat to the iPad plus the smaller iPads would just cannibalize the iPad 3 sales. It would just be admitting to defeat to Android if Apple did this.

  9. Who’s going to write apps for this tweener size screen?

    It takes time and resources to design and develop for more than one screen sizes. What’s the motivation to support a size that’s too big to comfortably fit in a normal pocket and too small to have a good multiple column interface?

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