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Analyst: no 7in tablet at iPad 3 launch

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Apple is going to release a 7in iPad - but not next month when it unwraps the iPad 3.

So says analyst Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research, a market watcher. Speaking to Computerworld, he said he believes that Apple has always had the 7in tablet form-factor in mind, despite what Steve Jobs once said.

Jobs, when asked in October 2010, said that a tablet with a seven inch screen was too small, but such concerns don't seem to proved much of a barrier for Amazon's 7in Kindle Fire.

Indeed, Jobs said: "The 7in tablets are 'tweeners', too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad. We think the current crop of 7in tablets are going to be DOA." Seven-inch tablets have come a way since then.

As Gottheil notes, some folk prefer the smaller, more pocketable size. Apple, he said, "will also charge a premium above other similar-sized tablets, they want to protect that price flank".

Whispers from Asia, heard late last year, also maintained there is a 7in iPad in the works and that it won't be out until Q3, timed to tap into the Christmas market.

The analyst also forecast the debut next month of an iPad 3 case with an integrated keyboard, echoing speculation here and elsewhere based on comments made by CEO Tim Cook that Apple will soon have an offering for folk who want a compact laptop-type device running iOS. ®

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