The iPad 3 rumors are in full swing and many of them are focused on a new device possibly arriving as soon as the first quarter of 2012. But a new bit of information has just emerged that makes the next generation of iPads even more enticing, and it has to do with a smaller form factor.
Chinese tech site Digitimes has gone on record with a source that says Apple will introduce a new iPad size in 2012. According to the source, the new size will be 7.85 inches, a size specifically designed to compete head-to-head with the newly popular Kindle Fire from Amazon. The current generation of iPads are 9.5 inches tall, while the Kindle Fire measures just 7.5 inches, making it easier to tuck into a spare pocket or hold for extended periods of time while reading an e-book.
According to the report, the smaller iPads wouldn't arrive until later in the year. The report states, "In addition to purchasing 7.85-inch panels from LG Display, Apple will also buy panels from AU Optronics (AUO), indicated the sources, adding that makers in the supply chain are likely to begin production of the 7.85-inch models at the end of the second quarter of 2012."
Our pals over at iLounge have gotten a few iPad-related tibdits from one of their sources, and we thought it was interesting enough to pass on. They are hearing that, in conjunction with the regular September ipod event that Apple conducts each year, that the company may announce a smaller version of the iPad. They say it’ll have a 7-inch display, making the screen closer to that of the Amazon Kindle (Amazon released a new Kindle last week.) We’ve also been hearing that a smaller iPad was on the horizon, but we didn’t hear anything about a date. Other sources are claiming that the next iPad will definitely ship with a front-facing camera as well, turning them into Facetime devices (the next iPod touch will likely include similar functionality.) Even if it doesn’t happen in September, we fully expect to see a smaller iPad by January.
If Apple wants Facetime to catch on, they definitely need to get it into more devices than just the iPhone 4, and this would be a good way to accomplish that. A smaller iPad with increased functionality launching so soon after the original could result in buyers remorse for some, but it’s not like Apple hasn’t made similar moves in the past, especially with the iPod a few years ago.
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