Officials at some of Apple's suppliers, who declined to be named, said the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has shown them screen designs for a new device with a screen size of around 8-inches, and said it is qualifying suppliers for it. Apple's latest tablet, the iPad 2, comes with a 9.7-inch screen. It was launched last year.
One person said the smaller device will have a similar resolution screen as the iPad 2. Apple is working with screen makers including Taiwan-based AU Optronics Co. and LG Display Co. of South Korea to supply the test panels, the person said.
Apple tests new designs all the time and could decide not to release device; however, it has long been rumored that the company will release a smaller tablet to compete with the likes of the Amazon Kindle and Samsung Galaxy Tab.
Most recently, Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, made the prediction that Apple will launch a 7-inch iPad, though not at the early March event.