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Apple rumored to put beefy iPad on diet

The slightly-less-fat iPhone without the phone

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Apple is planning a smaller version of the iPad that could arrive as soon as the first quarter of 2011, according to a research analyst citing sources among Apple's upstream component suppliers.

Yes, Steve Jobs and company already offers a smaller version of the iPad. It's called the iPhone. And there's another smaller version called the iPod Touch. And unlike the iPad, the iPhone gives you a camera and actually makes cell phone calls. But according to Digitimes Research senior analyst Mingchi Kuo, Apple is now prepping a 5- to 7-inch version of the iPad. The iPhone's screen measures 3.5 inches across the diagonal.

Kuo says that this smaller version of Apple's larger iPad will sell for under $400. The inaugural iPad, launched this past weekend, measures 10-inches and sells for one dollar under $500 in the US.

She also says that the slimmed fat iPhone will "target the highly-portable mobile device market and consumers that focus mainly on reading and do not have a high demand for text input." No word on whether it will do cell calls or include a camera. But presumably, it won't. If it did, there'd be less reason for fanbois to spring for both an iPhone and an iPad.

Incidentally, Dell is prepping a 5-inch Android device that will indeed make phone calls. Dubbed the Streak, it includes a camera too. The trouble is that you might look slightly silly holding a 5-inch tablet to your ear.

Which device to choose, then? For the most devout fanbois, there's no choice at all. They have no qualms about buying everything Apple puts in front of them. We can only imagine how many will go whole hog, carrying an iPhone, a fat iPhone, and a slightly less fat iPhone.

Even before Apple launched the 10-inch iPad, it was rumored that a smaller version was on the way. But there were also rumors that a larger version was on the way.

No doubt, there are many people out there who will wait in line to buy that one too. ®

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