Report: Apple to unveil smaller iPad in October

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will unveil a smaller version of its popular iPad tablet at a media event in October after it starts selling the next iPhone, according to an AllThingsD report.

The report, citing unnamed sources, said that the so-called "iPad mini" will debut at an event in October and will have an 8-inch screen or smaller. Apple declined to comment, according to the report, which offered no other details about the device itself.

The thinking is that Apple will use its iPhone event, rumored to be scheduled for Sept. 12, as solely an event to launch the next iPhone, which is expected to have a larger screen, thinner body and LTE connectivity among other new bells and whistles. In July, both Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is in the final stages of preparing for the launch of a smaller iPad, which the reports said would likely have a 7-inch screen like those of its smaller-sized competitors. The iPad's screen has been 9.7-inches diagonally since it was introduced in 2010.

Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was "very receptive" to the idea of a 7-inch iPad by early 2011, according to evidence submitted during the patent-infringement trial between Apple and Samsung Electronics.

Apple executive Eddy Cue, now the company's senior vice president of Internet software and services, said in a January 2011 email to top executives that he had spoken with Jobs in recent months about the idea and that Jobs "seemed very receptive the last time." The disclosure was notable because in October 2010 Jobs lambasted the idea of a 7-inch tablet.

A smaller iPad would compete more directly with Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire. Amazon is reportedly planning a larger, upgraded Kindle Fire to compete with the iPad. However, Apple is still the dominant tablet player, despite its many smaller sized competitors.

According to research firm IDC, the Kindle Fire represented just 5 percent of the global tablet market in the second quarter, compared with 68 percent for the iPad and 9.6 percent for Samsung Electronics' tablets. Apple has sold 67 million iPads since the device went on sale, including 11.8 million in its most recent quarter. The newest iPad has LTE capabilities and is offered by Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) in the United States.

For more:
- see this AllThingsD article

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