Apple Planning a Smaller iPad: Rumor

Apple is rumored to be developing a smaller-screen version of the iPad, which could be launched in time for the holidays.
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CUPERTINO, California (

TheStreet

) --

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

is rumored to be preparing a new, smaller-screen version of the

iPad

, according to media reports.

PC World

, citing Taiwanese newspaper

Economic Daily News

, reports that an iPad with a 7-inch touchscreen could be launched as early as the end of this year.

A number of Taiwanese component manufacturers have won contracts to provide components for the new tablet, dubbed the iPad 2, according to

Economic Daily News.

The current iPad has a 9.7-inch touchscreen and has proved extremely popular with consumers. Apple recently announced that it has

sold more than 3 million of the tablets

, which are also

carving out a niche in corporate America.

Apple declined to comment for this story, and analysts seem to think that development of a smaller-screen iPad is unlikely for a variety of reasons. "I am not sure what incremental opportunity that would address," Ashok Kumar, an analyst at Rodman Renshaw, told

TheStreet

. "It's highly unlikely that they will downsize it."

Kumar believes that the existing iPad has already hit the sweetspot of the tablet market. A smaller-screen iPad would also require a slew of new components, posing logistical challenges for Apple, he added. "The whole

white and black iPhone situation

has been an exercise in frustration for Apple," said Kumar. "I am sure that they do not want to repeat that on the iPad."

Smaller-screen tablet devices, however, are creeping onto the market, such as

Dell's (DELL) - Get Report Streak

, which offers a 5-inch touchscreen.

Research In Motion

(RIMM)

is also expected to have a 7-inch touchscreen tablet

available this fall, which will run the new BlackBerry OS 6.

Apple shares crept up 98 cents, or 0.39%, to $252.95 in early trading on Wednesday, as the Nasdaq dipped 0.25%.

-- Reported by James Rogers in New York

Follow James Rogers on

Twitter.