Report Says Apple To Launch 7-inch iPad by Christmas

Apple is readying another tablet similar to the iPad but with a 7-inch touchscreen for launch as early as the end of this year, according to a major Taiwanese newspaper.

Apple is readying another tablet similar to the iPad but with a 7-inch touchscreen for launch as early as the end of this year, according to a major Taiwanese newspaper. Photo: Apple

With every day that passes we see more and more rumors regarding a smaller iPad model that’s scheduled to arrive soon. The 7-inch Apple iPad, called by somebody the iPad 2, is now said to be here in time for Christmas,  according to a major Taiwanese newspaper.

This is the second report of an iPad 2 sighting in Taiwan, and it comes from the island’s Chinese-language Economic Daily News financial newspaper, which was among the first to correctly report that Apple was making a tablet when other news sources said it would be a netbook. The launch of the original iPad proved the paper correct.

Taiwan’s Digitimes newspaper last week reported that Taiwanese companies were starting to assemble a 7-inch iPad for Apple. The Economic Daily reports that Taiwanese companies have won a number of component contracts for the iPad 2.

Chimei Innolux will supply 7-inch LCD screens, which use the same IPS (in-plane switching) technology found in the original iPad, which improves viewing angles and color on LCD screens. Touchscreen technology for the screens will come from Cando Corporation, the report says.

Apple has also tapped Compal Electronics, one of the world’s largest contract laptop computer makers, to assemble the new iPad, the report says. The companies named in the Economic Daily report declined to comment.

Contract manufacturers and component makers normally do not reveal what products they’re working on because failure to maintain secrecy can cause them to miss out on future contracts.

Not only will the 7-inch iPad be cheaper than the 10-inch model, but it could also be a great competitor to the plethora of tablets scheduled to hit stores later this year or early in 2011: the BlackBerry BlackPad, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Asus Eee Pad or the Motorola Stingray.

What’s interesting here is that while Apple competitors are trying to come up with an iPad alternative that’s cheaper and ready to offer a bunch of features the iPad lacks, Apple is building a smaller iPad, that could deliver an important blow to its rivals.

Why? Because like we have already said above the new model would be cheaper, and Apple already prove it can build great tablets (not perfect though) while nobody else has been able to match them yet in this niche.

So where does this piece of news come from? Taiwan, where else? It looks like the Economic Daily News is saying that Chimei Innolux is making the 7-inch LCD displays for Apple, and the panels use the same IPS technology found on the 9.7-inch iPad. The touchscreen technology is coming from Cando Corporation and Compal Electronics is going to build the iPad 2.

Does that all mean the 7-inch tablet is coming by Christmas? In case that’s true then we can expect Apple to announce it at the iPod event in September or later on in October in order to build enough buzz and make the most of the holiday season shopping sprees.

That’s right in line with what we’ve seen yesterday, a few lines of code suggesting that a new iPad and CDMA iPhone are ready for field-testing.

So, tablet potential customers, would you rather buy a 7-inch iPad this Christmas or something from the competition? [via PC World]

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