"Apple Inc. is working with component suppliers in Asia to test a new tablet computer with a smaller screen, people familiar with the situation said, as it looks to broaden its product pipeline amid intensifying competition and maintain its dominant market share. Officials at some of Apple’s suppliers, who declined to be named, said the Cupertino, Calif., company has shown them screen designs for a new device with a screen size of around eight inches and said the company is qualifying suppliers for it."
So reports the Wall Street Journal. [Note: The WSJ is behind a firewall and might charge to read this article.]
The story notes that this is a test and Apple may not end up building an iPad with a smaller screen.
The story also notes that the screen would have similar resolution to the iPad 2. Other reports have siad that the new iPad 3, expected to debut in about 2 weeks, will have a higher-resolution screen than the iPad 2.
The current screen size for the iPad is 9.7 inches.
The article adds: "A smaller tablet device would broaden Apple’s portfolio and could help it compete with rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co. and Amazon.com Inc. It would also begin to emulate the strategy it took for its iPod music player, which it released in a number of shapes and sizes over time. The company has taken a different tack with its iPhone, releasing one design at a time."
The WSJ said that Apple had no comment about its report.