Webwire: Vodafone, Hutch close to Eire deal; Apple plots smaller iPad

Vodafone and Hutchison Whampoa are finalizing talks to merge their telecom infrastructure in Ireland. Vodafone Ireland and 3 Ireland would become equal owners in a joint venture owning the equipment, but maintain separate spectrum holdings and retail services.
Sources claim Apple is planning to bring out a smaller, cheaper, iPad by the end of the year, to challenge low-cost rivals including Amazon's Kindle Fire, and Google's planned Nexus 7.
Google and Samsung are preparing a software patch for the Galaxy Nexus that they hope will ensure the handset no longer infringes on an Apple patent, which may help the companies overcome last week's court-ordered injunction on US sales on the device.
An apparent leaked product roadmap indicates RIM is planning to launch the first two BlackBerry 10 devices in 1Q13, and a tablet device codenamed the BlackBerry Forest in 3Q13.
Apple has quietly removed claims that Mac computers are not susceptible to PC viruses from its website, in the wake of the outbreak of the Flashback Trojan virus earlier in the year.
Australia's Telstra is considering re-farming the 900-MHz spectrum it currently uses for 2G services to deploy LTE-Advanced.