Report: Apple 'thinking hard' about 7-inch iPad

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CNET News has picked up on a report on Taiwan's United Daily News that a couple of suppliers have sent samples of a 7.85-inch screen to Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), which coincides with recent reports of increased chatter about a 7-inch tablet within Apple.

The catalyst for the renewed talk of a smaller iPad would of course be the recently unveiled 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet by Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN). Priced at $199 and scheduled to ship Nov. 15, pre-orders have sufficiently encouraged Amazon to go ahead with placing an order with Foxconn Electronics to produce "next generation" Kindle Fire tablets.

While it may be possible that Apple is reconsidering the notion of a 7-inch iPad, the late Steve Jobs had also famously dismissed the idea of a smaller tablet when he cited "extensive user testing" with the conclusion that: "There are clear limits on how close you can place things on a touch screen, which is why we think 10 inch is the minimum screen size to create great tablet apps." 

However, post-Jobs Apple is ringed by hordes of competitors eager to grab a slice of its significant market share in the tablet space. In addition, the company's MacBook Air franchise is being targeted by almost every PC maker, led by chip-maker Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) and its Ultrabook brainchild.

It remains to be seen whether the relentless pressure will cause Apple to do a U-turn on its earlier decision. Would you buy a 7-inch Apple iPad though?

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