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Apple Working with Suppliers on 8-Inch iPad

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is working with suppliers on a smaller iPad carrying a display in the range of 8 inches on the diagonal, down from the 9.7-inch display in the current iPad but still larger than the 7-inch display found in the Kindle Fire.
Officials at some of Apple's suppliers, who declined to be named, said the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has shown them screen designs for a new device with a screen size of around 8-inches, and said it is qualifying suppliers for it. Apple's latest tablet, the iPad 2, comes with a 9.7-inch screen. It was launched late last year.

One person said the smaller device will have a similar resolution screen as the iPad 2. Apple is working with screen makers including Taiwan-based AU Optronics Co. and LG Display Co. of South Korea to supply the test panels, the person said.
The report does caution, however, that Apple is continually testing new designs with its suppliers and could ultimately decide not to bring the smaller iPad to market.

According to the report, Apple has played with various tablet sizes in the past, but has so far stuck with a single form factor with a 9.7-inch display, a size Steve Jobs argued was the minimum to meet Apple's standards for usability.

An "iPad mini" has been rumored for quite some time, with reportedly having tested a variety of different screen sizes. A number of the rumors have pinpointed a 7.85-inch iPad that could be released late this year.


Mockup of 7.85" iPad on left, 9.7" (current) iPad on right

Back in December, we published mockups and "actual size" PDFs demonstrating how the device would appear and fit in the hand at that size. Our printable PDFs included home screen (6 MB) and keyboard (18 MB) views, and we also included an actual size image for viewing on a current iPad.

Squeezing the current iPad's resolution down to a smaller screen would also reduce the size of the interface elements on the device, and Apple is indeed said to be planning to move the current iPad's 1024x768 resolution to the smaller iPad in a move that would allow current iPad apps to "just work" on the new device. Testing with our "iPad mini" mockup suggests that interface elements would remain usable even at the smaller size.

Related roundup: iPad mini

Top Rated Comments

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33 months ago
The new iPad line:

Rating: 26 Votes
33 months ago

a move that would allow current iPad apps to "just work" on the new device.

Nope, it would not "just work". It would mean that ALL apps are reduced to 75%. All hit target would be smaller. All buttons would be smaller. And, as famously said by Steve Jobs, you'll need to sand your finger tips.
A app designed natively for a 7" tablet would be OK. But an app designed for a 10" tablet and scaled down to è3 would be a pain to use.
Rating: 25 Votes
33 months ago
This rumor is about persisent as the iphone mini rumor :rolleyes:
Rating: 20 Votes
33 months ago

Here's my guess-
The screen of the smaller iPad will actually be the same size as now, only without the border. Essentially you will have the same visible screen real estate. So while the device will become smaller, the experience won't become compromised.

Eh? Eh?


You ever held an ipad? The border is there for a reason.
Rating: 18 Votes
33 months ago
The iPad does not have a diameter because it is not a circle. It has a diagonal. So it should be "8 inches in diagonal".
Rating: 17 Votes
33 months ago
Why the heck would an 8" iPad need to exist. That's just too close to 9.7"

7" maybe. It's kinda hard to tell where the line should be drawn when these devices are already so small. But even then, 8" seems slightly too close.
Rating: 17 Votes
33 months ago
Can't see the need for a smaller iPad personally but 8inch would make an amazing touch screen remote for a television.
Rating: 13 Votes
33 months ago
So then there'd be 3 screen sizes iOS apps would have to take into consideration. 4 if rumors the iPhone 5 will have a bigger screen. Why does everyone want iPhones to have bigger screens and iPads to have smaller screens? Maybe people from both camps of thought should just swap devices.
Rating: 11 Votes
33 months ago

I would like a bigger iPhone (screen), and a smaller iPad.


My sentiments, exactly. For reading ebooks, a smaller iPad would be sweet.
Rating: 8 Votes
33 months ago

Nope, it would not "just work". It would mean that ALL apps are reduced to 75%. All hit target would be smaller. All buttons would be smaller. And, as famously said by Steve Jobs, you'll need to sand your finger tips.
A app designed natively for a 7" tablet would be OK. But an app designed for a 10" tablet and scaled down to è3 would be a pain to use.


For the most part things would "just work". Experimentation with our mockups suggests that most interface elements are still usable at the slightly smaller size. Certainly not any smaller than what's already widely used on the iPhone.

It'd require a little getting used to, but it seems like it would be okay for those who want a smaller screen. Give the mockups a try.
Rating: 7 Votes

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