There are a lot of rumors surrounding an alleged 7.85 inch iPad Mini Apple is reportedly working on.
Early last week, a report from China claimed that Apple is looking to release a smaller version of the iPad with a Sharp IGZO panel sometime this fall.
IGZO abbreviation of indium gallium zinc oxide is a thin-film transistor technology. Using the Sharp IGZO LCD panel allows the body of the phone / tablet is thinner, while increasing endurance, and display better. It is reported that Sharp’s IGZO panel optimized to achieve 330 points per inch screen resolution.
This was subsequently followed by reports from Bloomberg and the WSJ which both claimed that Apple is preparing a smaller version of its already popular tablet in order to compete with smaller and successful offerings from the likes of Google and Amazon.
The WSJ noted in particular:
Apple Inc.’s component suppliers in Asia are preparing for mass production in September of a tablet computer with a smaller screen than the iPad, people familiar with the situation said, suggesting a launch for the device is near…
And yes, we all know how Steve Jobs felt about 7-inch tablets, but hey, this isn’t the first time Apple has sworn off or dismissed a technology/form factor/service only to implement it later on. Apple may very well think that a 9.7 inch tablet provides the optimal user experience, but the market has spoken and it’s abundantly clear that there’s a lot of demand for tablet devices with smaller screens, and more importantly, at lower price points.