Feb. 14, 2012 at 11:17 AM ET
Wait! Don't scroll past these words just yet — you're not suffering from a strange case of deja vu, there are simply a lot of different Apple rumors and reports floating around right now. One of the stranger bits of gossip in the bunch involves details about an 8-inch version of the iPad.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Apple and its suppliers are currently testing a smaller version of the popular 9.7-inch tablet device:
Officials at some of Apple's suppliers, who declined to be named, said the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has shown them screen designs for a new device with a screen size of around 8 inches, and said it is qualifying suppliers for it.
One of the unnamed sources claims that the "smaller device will have a similar resolution screen as the iPad 2" and that Apple is working with several screen manufacturers in order to produce test panels for the gadget.
There are several things to keep in mind while considering this report — the most important one being that old habits die hard. Apple has a tendency to test out multiple versions of its devices in order to explore options. This process doesn't mean that every device or iteration tested and studied by the company will make it to the market though.
Also worth remembering is a spiel given by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs back in 2010. During an earnings call in October of that year, Jobs explained that he didn't think that it's possible to make a great 7-inch tablet. A 9.7-inch device such as the current iPad is "the minimum size required to create great tablet apps," he said, as the WSJ reminds us.
Of course plenty of time has passed since Jobs vehemently rejected the idea of a smaller iPad, and it's possible that the mobile device market has changed in such a way that Apple is genuinely considering an 8-inch device. Either that or the company is simply doing what it has been doing for a long time: Exploring designs, be they committed to building them or not.
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