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Apple 'seeking part makers' for 8in 'iPad Mini'

Tinier tablet in play?

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Asian moles have once again claimed Apple is working on a smaller version of its iPad tablet, but this time the diminutive gadget is said to sport an 8in rather than 7in screen.

The sources, quoted by the Wall Street Journal, say Apple has been hawking the design around component suppliers seeking partners to produce parts for the product.

It's said the 'iPad Mini' has the same 1024 x 768 resolution as the iPad 2 - expected to be bested next month when the Mac maker unveils the 2048 x 1536 iPad 3.

But the smaller iPad is not expected to debut alongside the iPad 3. It's expected later in the year, a timeline given some weight by the fact Apple is presenting the 8in machine now, not six months ago.

It has already been whispered that Apple is exploring the creation of a smaller iPad, the better to cater for the large group of buyers who want a tablet that's more pocket-friendly than the 9.7in iPad 2.

The seeming success of Amazon's Kindle Fire, a 7in tablet, has focused attention on that form-factor as the one Apple will select too, but the Cupertino-based company is contrary enough to attempt to stand out with a slightly different size - which would also allow it to claim that Steve Jobs' dismissal of the 7in form-factor still holds. ®

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