in July DigiTimes reported that Apple was in the process of sourcing 5.6-inch and 7-inch OLED panels, presumed to be for a pair of new iPad models which could arrive as soon as in the fourth quarter of 2010:
The sources noted that Apple has recently placed new iPad orders to Taiwan-based component makers for the fourth quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011 with 9.7-inch, 5.6-inch and 7-inch models all included
Then in August the iPad mini rumors picked up some momentum when iLounge reported that a 7-inch iPad is “substantially finished” and could arrive as soon as later this year or early in 2011:
Apple has been prototyping devices with screens of this size for a long time—quite possibly predating the original iPhone.
Today GigaOm throws fuel onto the 7-ingh iPad fire based on a research note out this morning by Rodman & Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar. Malik thinks that Apple might be feeling pressure from Android and that a smaller form-factor iPad could keep the coming torrent of Android tabs at bay. His theory has some merit:
In this case perhaps, the 7-inch tablet can lower the bill of materials and make it easier to source components like the display, which, in turn, allows Apple to stay competitive in the emerging tablet market.
I don't usually place much stock in analyst reports, but where there's proverbial smoke, there's usually fire. So it's definitely worth keeping an eye on.
In addition to re-hashing the 7-inch "iPad mini" rumor, Kumar claims that the second-generation iPad will have both front and rear facing cameras to facilitate video conferencing via FaceTime and that Apple will bring such a device to market some time in 2011. (What, no Retina Display?)
So there you have it, more iPad mini rumors.
My question: would you buy a 7-inch iPad?