Apple plans to launch a 7-inch version of the iPad in October, according to rumours emerging from Asia.
The 7-inch iPad will have the same screen resolution as the new iPad and would sell for $200-$250, the Apple blog iMore claimed, citing its own sources. iMore has a good record of publishing Apple rumours that turn out to be accurate.
Rene Ritchie, of iMore, wrote: "Our sources have indicated, however, that the 7-inch iPad will be identical to the current 9.7-inch iPad, just scaled down. That seems to include a 2048x1536 resolution display, just like the new iPad. If accurate, that would put the pixel density at around 326 ppi, the same as the iPhone 4S (and higher than the 264 ppi new iPad) retina display."
The iMore report is in line with other reports emerging from Asia, which suggest that an 'iPad Mini' will go on sale in the third quarter of this year. In April, Apple blogger John Gruber said that Apple had been testing an iPad with a 7.85-inch screen.
In February, before the launch of the third generation iPad, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was testing an 8-inch iPad.
Whether all of these rumours amount to anything remains to be seen. Those who believe that Apple will release a 'mini' iPad say that it would enable the company to cover the market for tablets, leaving little entry room for the competition. Apple took the same approach with digital music players, expanding its iPod range to include a variety of sizes and form factors.
The move could also be a response to Amazon's Kindle Fire, a 7-inch tablet that sells in America for $199. The suggested timing would also allow Apple to head off the impending competition from Microsoft's Windows 8 tablets, which are due to appear this autumn.
Though these rumours come from publications that have been reliable in the past, there is no hard evidence that Apple is planning a smaller iPad. With the supposed launch five months away, there have been no leaked parts or prototype devices.
Furthermore, Apple has publicly criticised 7-inch tablets in the past. Steve Jobs, Apple's founder and former chief executive, who died last year, was dismissive of 7-inch tablets, saying that developers tended not to make specific apps for them and instead enlarged their smartphone apps.
However, if iMore is right about the display resolution on this device, then it would actually run iPad apps, just on a smaller screen. iMore also points out that Jobs was dismissive of other things that Apple later ended up doing, including making a phone and an iPod that could show video.