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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

February 14, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Apple planning smaller iPad — the iFire? — plus LTE

Apple has apparently changed its mind about smaller Web tablets, perhaps because Amazon.com has done well with its Kindle Fire, which has a 7-inch screen.

Apple now is testing a new iPad with a screen that’s about 8 inches on the diagonal, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

An excerpt:

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.

It’s not clear whether Apple will introduce its mini pad at an event in early March, where the company’s expected to reveal the iPad 3.

That’s a big reversal for the company. The late Steve Jobs dismissed and mocked smaller tablets, saying in 2010 that a 7-inch tablet was too small for adults and would flop unless it “also includes sandpaper so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size.”

The Journal also reported that the full-size, 10-inch iPad soon will be available with 4G LTE wireless service from Verizon and AT&T.

The big question then becomes, how soon will an LTE iPhone be released? (And what limitations will be placed on heavy data users?)

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