According to Zach Epstein at BGR (via a report in The Korea Times), an anonymous Samsung official has added more fuel to the rumor fire that Apple will release a smaller version of its popular iPad tablet later this year.
Apparently, Apple is likely to spend $11 billion on Samsung-sourced parts this year, up from the current contract amount of $9.8 billion “as Apple is planning to release a smaller iPad, probably with a 7.85-inch screen, and to sell more of its MacBook Air PCs using Samsung’s faster solid state drive (SSD) storage,” the source is quoted as saying.
Of course, the extra spending could be for parts for the just-announced new iPad, which is already facing dwindling supply issues due to the popularity of its pre-orders. At the same time, because Sharp and LG have failed to meet iPad display quality requirements, perhaps this extra cash will be going towards Samsung filling out existing, and likely greater, demand in the coming months.
Still, a smaller ‘iPad Mini’ is certainly a tempting proposition. It’s a segment of the market that Steve Jobs was quick to shoot down a year or two ago, but Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet offering which boasts a 7-inch display, has proven successful, selling well over the 2011 holiday shopping season.
If there is a market for 7- or 8-inch tablets after all, you can bet Apple’s likely to want a piece of it.