An article in today’s New York Times is the latest in a series of rumors that Apple is bringing out a smaller iPad, to compete with the Kindle and other smaller tablet devices.
NY Times article: As Tablet Race Heats Up, Apple May Try Smaller Device
The rumor is that later this year, Apple is going to introduce a 7.85” screen iPad (screen sizes are measured on the diagonal). The current iPad is 9.7”.
The article mentions that Apple’s plan for the iPad may be similar to what it did with the iPod, introducing a number of different sizes and configurations for different uses and at a range of price points.
The smaller iPad could serve two main purposes: travel, and reading.
When I travel, I bring my MacBook Air 11” and my iPad—and always marvel that the two devices are almost the same size. A smaller device for travel would fit better in my travel bag, and would still allow me to easily read emails. As for reading, I read a lot of books on the iPad and find it just a tiny bit too heavy to hold for long hours comfortably.
If it’s coming, the smaller iPad would likely be introduced in time for the holiday 2012 market.