You never know about the Apple rumors, but a Taiwanese trade publication is reporting that Apple’s preparing to release a smaller version of the iPad in late 2012.
The DigiTimes story said Apple is buying 7.85-inch panels from LG Display for the smaller iPad coming in the fourth quarter of 2012. It also said an updated version of the 10-inch iPad will be released by March.
Apple is obviously going to update the wildly successful tablet but we’ll have to see about the smaller version.
The story comes a day after Amazon.com touted the success of its 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet, and word of new iPads could persuade some potential Kindle (or Nook) buyers to hold off.
Amazon still isn’t providing much detail about Kindle sales — in contrast to Apple’s quarterly disclosures — but said the Fire is the most popular Kindle sold through its site, and the overall line has been selling 1 million units per week online and offline for the past three weeks.
A smaller iPad would broaden the appeal of the device, which is too big to fit in a pocket or many purses, but a new screen size would add complication for developers.
It wouldn’t be surprising for Apple to release something cool in late 2012, which would rain on the Windows 8 launch parade and the arrival of new tablets from PC makers.
Who knows? Maybe the smaller displays are for a tablet-like remote control for the TV sets that Apple is expected to make one of these days.