According to sources that the Chinese newspaper Digitimes dug up, Apple may be prepping a sup 10″ tablet. The tablet would be released in 2012 along with the iPad 3.
The primary evidence that Digitimes quotes is Apple’s purchase of 7.85″ LG screens of the type you might find in a tablet. This would mark a stark change for a company whose CEO said of 7″ tablets that they were “dead on arrival.”
It has been rumored that Apple would make a smaller iPad have been around as the iPad itself. What lends this rumor some credence is that Apple has been changing its culture. The changes ahve been subtle, so far; the biggest indicator would be that they splashed their homescreen with a charity advertisement, something that the company refused to do during Jobs’s tenure. In fact, Steve Jobs shut down the entire public giving sector of his company when he regained control.
From a product perspective, it would make sense that Apple would be investigating the 7″ form factor. With the rampant success of the Kindle Fire, Apple must realize that there is an untapped market there. The real question is whether the company is willing to pursue it.
Digitimes has a track record of catching big news before other sources, but still take this with a grain of salt. They also have a history of reporting rumors that turn into nothing. Even if Apple is investigating a 7″ iPad, it may not ever make it to release. Apple has finished many products only to fail to ship them as they didn’t fit with the company’s image.