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iPad rumours hint at smaller tablet
Technology fans are being tempted by fresh rumours that Apple is considering a smaller iPad model, an idea company founder Steve Jobs derided publicly a year before he died.
Apple and its suppliers have not commented on the latest buzz, although rumours of an "iPad mini" have percolated ever since the first iPad was launched two years ago.
Media reports from South Korea, China and Taiwan say Apple has ordered Samsung screens that are 7.8 inches measured on the diagonal. That would make for a screen about half the size of the current iPad, which has a diagonal measurement of 9.7 inches.
"From a competitive standpoint, we believe an iPad mini with a lower price point would be the competition's worst nightmare," Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee, said.
"Most (competitors) already have a tough enough time competing against the iPad 2, as well as the new iPad."
Apple has successfully fended off competitors who have tried to sell tablets in iPad's size range. But last year, Amazon started to sell a half-size, no-frills tablet - the Kindle Fire - for 199 US dollars (£123) in the US, which is basically the cost of production, although it has sold millions so far.
Apple sells the iPod Touch for 199 dollars, but its screen is about a quarter of the size of the Kindle Fire which is a big disadvantage for people who want to enjoy books, movies and games. It also sells the older iPad model for 399 dollars (£248). It has nothing in between.
Price is not the only reason customers might prefer a smaller tablet. A 7-inch model would fit in many handbags, unlike the current iPad.