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Google and Asus haven't even started shipping their seven-inch Nexus tablet yet, and already there are reports that Apple will introduce a similarly sized iPad later this year to kill it dead.
Bloomberg is reporting that despite constant denials by Apple executives, the company does indeed have a smaller iPad on deck, which it plans to use to ward off competitors such as Google and Microsoft later this year.
According to two sources "with knowledge of the plans," the junior-sized iPad will arrive with a seven or eight-inch display compared to the larger 9.7-inch screen on the existing models.
"The product, which Apple may announce by October, won’t have the high-definition screen featured on the iPad that was released in March," the report reveals.
Of course, this isn't the first time we've heard such rumblings: A smaller iPad was initially viewed as an answer to Amazon's $199 Kindle Fire, whose sales came out of the gate literally on fire last fall, but has more recently sent up smoke signals in its search for potential customers.
“It would be the competitors’ worst nightmare,” Sterne Agee & Leach analyst Shaw Wu explains of the mythical seven-inch iPad. “The ball is in Apple’s court.”
Apple has had little to worry about on the tablet front since introducing the original iPad in April, 2010 -- competing Android-based tablets from all manufacturers, in any shape or size, have largely flailed in the market by comparison to Cupertino's 61 percent share.
Meanwhile, both Microsoft and Google have introduced upcoming hardware of their own in an effort to stop the iPad freight train. Microsoft's Surface tablets aren't expected until later this year, while Google teamed with Asus to build the Nexus 7, which is expected to begin shipping to customers in mid-July.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter