A report Tuesday morning in the Wall Street Journal says that Apple is testing a new tablet with a smaller screen.
According to the reports, Apple has shown a design for a tablet with a screen of around 8 inches to potential suppliers, including Taiwan-based AU Optronics Co. and South Korean LG Display Co. The current model iPad 2 has a 9.7 inch screen.
The iPad 3, expected as early as March, is expected to have a screen of similar size but greater resolution.
The tablet market is exploding this year with new options for consumers, such as the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0). Smaller tablets running Android have been available for some time. As with the new Samsung and Amazon's Kindle Fire, the full tablets may be about 8 inches, but the display areas are just 7 inches.
Apple may feel the need to compete with a smaller, less expensive model of their own, especially in emerging markets like China and India. Analysts warned that Apple tests designs with manufacturers all the time and that it is not certain that they will follow through with a product.
The Journal cites Steve Jobs as criticizing smaller tablets late in 2010, claiming that the iPad form factor was "the minimum size required to create great tablet apps."