updated 04:00 pm EDT, Fri October 8, 2010
Company deliberately chose larger version
A 7-inch iPad has actually existed for some time at Apple, says The Loop's Jim Dalrymple. The writer, known to have inside contacts at the company, says that a 7-inch model was developed at the same time as the 9.7-inch one currently on sale. It's uncertain why Apple ultimately picked the larger display option.
Some possible reasons may have included avoiding closer comparison with the iPhone and iPod touch, catering to magazines and newspapers, or attempting to compete with netbooks. A 7-inch tablet would have its own advantages however, namely compact carrying and a lower weight. Several upcoming iPad rivals will stay under the 9.7-inch mark, including the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab.
If reports are accurate, a 7-inch iPad should launch in early 2011. Rumored features include a Retina Display, up to 128GB of storage and a secondary USB port. The latter could be a micro or mini USB connection, or possibly even a second 30-pin dock connector. Adding another 30-pin port would allow people to dock in landscape mode.