John Gruber of Daring Fireball has claimed that Apple is testing a 7.85-inch iPad at its laboratories in Cupertino.
Gruber was responding to a question on the possibility of a smaller iPad on the latest The Talk Show podcast (episode 86, about 80 minutes in). “Well, I don’t know. What I do know is that they [Apple] have one in the lab…a 7.85-inch iPad that runs at 1024 x 768…it’s just like the regular iPad shrunk down a bit. I’ve heard from multiple people that this is something that they’re kind of noodling with.”
Gruber did go onto say that he doesn’t know whether Apple has plans to bring this tablet to market, and added that you can get a feel of what a 7-inch iPad would feel like by talking a screenshot of a regular iPad in portrait, and then turning it into horizontal mode to view.
In recent times, and especially now that rumors on the new iPad have been all but exhausted, there have been an increasing number of reports on the possibility of a smaller iPad, either of 7-inches or 7.85-inches in size. The most recent rumor came from arch rivals Samsung, after a leaked company document pointed to the possible third quarter release of an ‘iPad mini’.
The rumor is another interesting sign over Apple's new direction under Tim Cook, who took over from Steve Jobs as CEO of the company in August of last year. Jobs previously dismissed 7-inch tablets as 'dead on arrival' during a conference call with investors in October of 2010.