Do We Finally Have Evidence of an iPad Mini?

A report from Taiwan says a smaller-sized iPad could start shipping by the end of the third quarter with a shipment goal of 6 million units for the year. According to the report in Taiwan’s The Liberty Times, LG Display (NYSE:LPL) and AU Optronics (NYSE:AUO) have cleared certification tests for LCD panels to be used in the device, and shipments of those will be on their way to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) soon.

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The article quotes what it says are “market rumors,” as well as a report from securities firm Macquarie Group. While Apple’s plans for a 7.85-inch iPad have not yet been confirmed, several supplier sources as well as analysts have predicted that such a device may be in the process of production.

Barclays Capital analyst Ben A. Reitzes had written this week that the new device was likely to be launched in the fall, while another report had predicted that it would be priced around the $200 to $250 point for 8GB of memory. Estimates have also suggested that the 7.85-inch screen will come with a resolution of 1,024 x 768 pixels, the same as the first two iPad versions. The latest, new iPad, has a retina display with double the resolution of its predecessors.

The Liberty Times report also said that Radiant will supply a backlight module for the device, while Nissha Printing will work on a thin-film sensor.

The smaller iPad could potentially be a foil for the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android-based Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle Fire, which is priced at $199 and saw good sales during the holiday quarter. While Apple remains the dominant player in the tablet market, a smaller version of its current 9.7-inch iPad could give it additional advantage.

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