Apple will release a small-screen iPad by year's end, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday. The company aims to compete with Amazon and Google, which have already launched 7-inch tablet PCs to target a niche market. The new smaller, cheaper model will have a screen that is 7-8 inches diagonally, as opposed to the current 9.7-inch version, Bloomberg said.
Apple accounts for more than 60 percent of the global tablet PC market and is likely to cement its lead with the cheaper iPad. Second-ranked Samsung has less than a 10 percent share of the market.
Apple founder Steve Jobs was apparently against small-screen tablet PCs. A 7-inch screen is "meaningless" unless the device includes "sandpaper so that the user can sand down their fingers to about one quarter of their present size," he said in 2010 when commenting on Samsung's 7-inch Galaxy Tab.
But now Apple has caved in to the popularity of US$199 models like Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire, industry insiders speculate. Apple's cheapest new iPad costs a hefty $499.