Apple is testing an 8-inch iPad according to a report in the WSJ. Apparently Apple is working with component suppliers in Asia to test out a new size iPad with a smaller screen. According to the report, Apple wants to broaden its product pipeline to maintain its dominant position in the tablet market.

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. Apple's latest tablet, the iPad 2, comes with a 9.7-inch screen. One person said the smaller device will have a similar resolution screen as the iPad 2. Apple is working with screen makers including Taiwan-based AU Optronics Co. and LG Display Co. of South Korea to supply the test panels, the person said.

Apple has always stated that tablet devices with smaller screens than the iPad would not deliver the same experience for its users. However the fact that Apple is now testing smaller sized iPad devices should not really come as that much of a surprise. We are sure Apple tests all sizes of screens for its devices but that does not mean any of them will actually be released. On the other hand, Apple may be looking into releasing a cheaper model iPad to enhance its appeal to those on a budget.

Source: WSJ