An unlikely scenario where Apple is said to plan the unveiling of an 8-inch iPad is again being tested by Chinese media outlets whose sources are saying that Apple has ordered smaller screens for a future version of the iPad tablet computer.
A Chinese-language report by the Economic Daily News (EDN) has been picked up by the not-always-accurate DigiTimes, which today reports that “AU Optronics (AUO) has landed LCD panel orders for Apple's planned 7.85-inch iPads, which are expected to be launched in the third quarter of 2012.”
Apple not only has a third 9.7-inch iPad scheduled for launch this week, the company has often stressed that any slate computer under the 10-inch form factor is likely to yield a sub-par tablet experience. Nonetheless, anything’s possible.
And we wouldn’t normally give these reports too much credit, but it should be noted that the same sources threw in the following piece of information:
“Apple will […] purchase 7.85-inch panels from LG Display but exclude Samsung Electronic from the supplier list [while] Backlit unit (BLU) maker Forhouse, an associate company of AUO, is also expected to enter the supply chain of the 7.85-inch iPads along side with AUO's flat panels…”
The EDN even claims to have knowledge of the company that will produce the smaller tablets - not Foxconn Electronics (currently the largest OEM for the iPad lineup), but Pegatron Technology, generally a secondary choice for iDevice assembly. The reasons for the switch are undisclosed.
With so many details, it’s hard not to consider at least spreading the word on the latest chatter in Apple’s supply chain.
On a more realistic note, Apple is days away from unveiling its third-generation of tablet computers - the iPad 3.
Reportedly priced the same as the iPad 2, and boasting similar storage options, the device is said to have a Retina display (2048x1536 resolution), an enhanced A6 chip, and better cameras.