There have been numerous reports in the past about Apple considering a smaller iPad, which were immediately refuted by the company. Steve Jobs also had publicly clarified earlier he wasn’t interested in building a smaller iPad. But this time the news seems to be on a more solid footing. There is a news report from a Taiwan website which suggests Samsung and AU Optronics have sent smaller screen samples to Apple, probably for use in smaller iPad.
The iPad Mini will probably be launched by 2012, but that’s still at the rumour stage. The reason why Apple is thinking along these lines is probably because Kindle Fire is also being launched soon, which may not be an iPad killer but is affordable product which will create some competition for Apple.
According to The Mobile indian, Apple is planning an iPad 3 by early 2012. Now the two news reports may merge somewhere yet but we don’t know how and when. Apple seems to have calculated its options well, since the screen size is slightly bigger than 7 inch, it’s actually 7.85 inch which is likely to result in better images and lower prices at the same time.
The reported iPad Mini is probably to target emerging markets which are more price sensitive, but it is difficult to visualize how the cost would come down just by reducing the size of the screen. The Amazon Kindle Fire is anyway a subsidized device which will make money through content sales. May be Apple will focus more on iCloud services, but these reports should still be taken with a pinch of salt.