A Google search turns up 114 million hits, but that couldn't be right. Could it?
The Wall Street Journal was getting a lot of play Tuesday morning with a report out of Taiwan that Apple (AAPL), to "broaden its product pipeline" and respond to "intensifying competition," was testing a new smaller tablet with a screen size of about 8 inches.
Color us skeptical.
First of all, we don't sense that Apple is feeling much pressure from Samsung or Amazon (AMZN), the two competitors mentioned in the Journal's report. Samsung's share of the global tablet market in Q3 2011 was 5.6%, according to IDC, just ahead of Hewlett-Packard's (HPC) abandoned TouchPad (5%) and way behind Apple's 61.5%.
Amazon, meanwhile, is reportedly losing money with every Kindle Fire it sells.
Second, the mantra at Apple is to keep the product pipeline narrow and consumer choice simple. Why would it want to add complication to a market it already owns?
Finally, Apple tested a lot of screen sizes before it settled on the 9.7-inch form that Steve Jobs declared "the minimum size required to create great tablet apps."
Asked about a 7-inch Pad during a 2010 earnings call, Jobs replied:
"It's meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size." (link)
That hasn't stopped the tech press from speculating. We've seen reports that Apple was working on iPads with 6-inch screens, 7-inch screens, 7.85-inch screens and, now, 8-inch screens.
"I wouldn't bet on it," says Daring Fireball's John Gruber.
Neither would I.
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"Maybe Brits have too many holidays for broke country!"
-- Reported, quickly deleted Tweet from @rupertmurdoch (The Sydney Morning Herald)
* According to former Palm employees, HP's Touchpad tablet, which the company eventually liquidated last year with a $99 fire sale, didn't have a chance. Leadership and engineering talent was lacking. The MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Jan 3, 2012 6:00 AM ET
Expected to account for 73.4% of a market that has grown more than 260% since 2010
Gartner Inc. is a lot better at telling you what's already happened than predicting what's about to.
Witness Thursday's report on worldwide tablet sales in which it describes Apple (AAPL) as having a "free run" in the tablet market this coming holiday season, accounting for nearly three quarters of the 63.6 million units sold before the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 22, 2011 11:29 AM ET
Sony's tablet could be the next to stumble, says another
Wall Street's best and brightest are expressing varying degrees of shock at the news Thursday that Research in Motion (RIMM), which delivered 500,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets in the quarter that ended in May, shipped a dismal 200,000 in the August quarter -- suggesting that most of those first half-million units are still sitting, unsold, on store shelves.
"We believe the PlayBook is MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 16, 2011 10:31 AM ET
The worldwide tablet market grew 303.8% year over year, and it's mostly Apple's
Since IDC launched its Worldwide Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker in January, its coverage of the tablet market has been, shall we say, spotty.
Its tracking report for the first quarter of 2011 didn't arrive until July, causing serious confusion among some high-profile tech writers who mistook it for a second-quarter report (see What slowdown in tablet sales?).
IDC's MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 15, 2011 9:31 AM ET
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* Facebook unveiled the "Subscribe" button that will allow its 750 million-plus active monthly users to better control what their friends share with them, including updates, photos, videos, and links. It will also let users "subscribe" to public status updates from others much in the same way Twitter lets its users MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Sep 15, 2011 3:30 AM ET
No, they don't plan to produce "one last run" in order to make it up in volume
Can you spot the dissemblance in the announcement posted Monday on Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) The Next Bench blog?
Despite announcing an end to manufacturing webOS hardware, we have decided to produce one last run of TouchPads to meet unfulfilled demand. We don't know exactly when these units will be available or how many we'll get, and MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 31, 2011 11:51 AM ET
Fortune's curated selection of the weekend's most newsworthy tech stories from all over the Web. Sign up to get the newsletter delivered to you every day.
* Hurricane Irene came and went, and while many people felt its potent effects, the hurricane-turned-tropical storm also inspired a number of reactions via Twitter, from criticism of TV news anchors in raincoats when Irene was hundreds of miles away to over-the-top screengrabs taken from the disaster flick, The Day MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Aug 29, 2011 3:30 AM ET
Horace Dediu puts his finger on the difference between Steve Jobs and Léo Apotheker
In a wide-ranging rumination that takes its starting point in 2001 -- when HP (HPQ) was courting Compaq and Apple (AAPL) was launching the iPod -- Horace Dediu's Critical Path podcast Tuesday touched on everything from Renaissance painting to the death of the HP TouchPad at the hands of CEO Léo Apotheker.
But for me the heart of MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 24, 2011 10:29 AM ET
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"There are a lot of sweet patents in that portfolio." -- Dean Becker, ICAP Patent Brokerage CEO, on Motorola Mobility's (MMI) 17,000 patents. (Bloomberg)
* Arik Hesseldahl over at All Things D does the math and guestimates that HP (HPQ) could be losing anywhere between $140 million and $300 million MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Aug 23, 2011 3:30 AM ET
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