It seems like no matter how much Apple protests shrinking the iPad into a seven-inch form factor, the world just can’t accept it. Nor should they, if a new report is to believed which claims samples of a 7.85-inch iPad are currently making the rounds of Apple’s supply chain.
DigiTimes is reporting that not only is a 7.85-inch iPad for real, but it’s coming to a store near you later this year. “According to industry sources,” the fabled mini-tablet is working its way through Apple’s supply chain, where samples have already been delivered for verification and “volume production” could begin as early as the third quarter of this year.
“The planned launch of the 7.85-inch iPad is apparently to take on Amazon’s US$199 7-inch Kindle Fire as well as a comparable model from Barnes Noble, although Apple already took up nearly a 60 percent share of the tablet PC market in 2011,” the industry sources have revealed.
A smaller iPad could carry a retail price as low as $249, which doesn’t quite make it a direct competitor for the Kindle Fire, but considering Apple’s stronger app ecosystem, the iPad would be the better value. As always, take these rumors with a grain of salt, but we’d bet that Apple will fill this smaller tablet void sooner than later…
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter