BY BOB HOLT
Apple may be about to pose the age-old question: Does size matter? If current reports are true, apparently not.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is testing screen designs with some suppliers for a new 8-inch iPad. The report says Apple is just testing at this point, and may choose not to proceed with production. The iPad 2, launched in 2011, has a 9.7-inch screen.
Some analysts say that consumers are looking for smaller devices to carry around, and the 8-inch model would help Apple compete with such competitors as the 7-inch Amazon Kindle and Samsung’s 5.3 inch Galaxy Note. Amazon’s Kindle Fire is priced at $199, while the iPad's sells for $499.
Apple has stuck to the iPad's current form. Apple’s late former CEO Steve Jobs once said the iPad's 9.7-inch screen was "the minimum size required to create great tablet apps."
The Wall Street Journal is also reporting that Verizon and AT&T will be selling a 4G LTE version of the upcoming iPad 3. AT&T and Verizon Wireless are the only two carriers in the U.S. that offer LTE, and the only ones selling the iPad.
The iPad 3 would become the first Apple device to be compatible with LTE. Apple wanted LTE in the iPhone 4S, but due to its short battery life, CEO Tim Cook said LTE was canceled, according to the International Business Times, because "first generation LTE chipsets force a lot of design compromises."
Digital Trends reports that the next iPad is expected to have a retina display with 2048×1024 resolution, along with a much faster A6 processor, and a more powerful graphics processor. The iPad 3 is rumored to have improved front and back cameras, and also have iOS 5.
Most recent reports say Apple will release the iPad 3 on March 7 at an event in San Francisco.