Last week stories about a possible smaller screen iPad once again resurfaced, and now the Wall Street Journal is weighing in with a possible 8-inch iPad currently being tested out with Apple partners in Asia.
It is official, but anonymous, sources with Apple suppliers that are telling WSJ about Apple’s possible plans to bring an 8-inch screen iPad to market. Currently they seem to be sourcing components, including the necessary screens for testing. It is however not uncommon for Apple to be testing out possible product variations within their supply partners, but that is no guarantee that the product will ever make it to market as there are several factors playing in, including compatibility with existing apps.
Like last weeks rumours about iPad smaller screen device, this also refers to it as a screen with the same resolution as the current iPad 2, and less than the rumored retina display iPad 3, which could see the light of day as early as March 7th.
Arguments for the validity of this latest smaller screen iPad rumor are the same as before; the competition from smaller screen android tablets and the new Kindle Fire, as well as the popularity in certain market segments for larger screen smartphones.
Should Apple bring an 8-inch iPad to market I’m sure they would be very careful in how they position it compared with the original iPad screen size to avoid cannibalization of the lucrative high-end model with a smaller and lower priced model. For Apple the timing above all is key as they balance current performance with competition and possible market opportunities in different market segments. With Apple taking aim at the books and education market, a smaller and even more portable iPad could just be what will make the tablet market even tougher to penetrate for the competition.
In the third quarter iPad shipments made up about 62% of all tablet shipments, down from around 68% the previous quarter. Market share developments like that could just be what is fueling current developments and a possible 8-inch iPad.