Apple lab-testing 7.85-inch iPad prototype, but will it ever be released?

A noted Apple blogger says the company is presently testing a 7.85-inch iPad in its labs. Should Apple even bother to release a smaller iPad?
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor

Steve Jobs famously called tablets smaller than the iPad "dead on arrival," but Jobs was also known to dismiss an idea one day and then embrace it as his own the next day. Which is why you shouldn't be surprised that rumors persist that Apple is pursuing a slate that would rival the Kindle Fire and a potential Google-branded tablet.

The latest one comes from Daring Fireball blogger John Gruber, who said on a recent podcast that Apple is presently testing a 7.85-inch iPad in the company's labs. It will apparently retain the 1024x768 resolution that the first two generations of iPad possess, though that should result in a slightly crisper screen on the smaller device. Other details aren't available, but how much more do consumers really need to know other than it would be a smaller iPad with a smaller price tag?

Is Apple serious about releasing a mini-iPad? (A NanoPad?) With other tablet makers still scrambling to present any kind of challenge to the larger iPad (Kindle Fire excepted), there's no rush for the company to expand its product line. If the market for smaller tablets continues to grow, then Apple could conceivably leap in, much as it added the iPod Mini and Nano to the iPod lineup way back when.

Do you think Apple should release a smaller iPad? If it did, would you buy one? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

[Via The Verge]

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