The smaller tablets that kicked off the Android tablet boom last year such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab coming in at 7-inches and the Dell Streak measuring 5 were deemed by Apple, or at least Steve Jobs to be fakers - not tablets, but undersized knock-offs of the real thing - the iPad.
If the latest from Digitimes bears truth however, we may be seeing a change in tune from the tech-giant, with reports of a 7.85-inch iPad due before the fourth quarter of next year.
While Steve Jobs explicitly opposed the idea of a smaller iPad, quoted saying: "Apple has done extensive user testing and we really understand this stuff...There are clear limits on how close you can place things on a touch screen, which is why we think 10 inch is the minimum screen size to create great tablet apps," with the success of the Amazon Kindle Fire, if there wasn’t a demand for these pint sized pads before, there certainly is now. Motorola and Samsung have both released iterations of their latest tabs measuring in at roughly 8-inches suggesting the market has in fact evolved to accept slates of all sizes - whether it's the right size for users or not.
It isn’t like Apple to follow suite, normally acting as trend-setters especially when it comes to hardware, however with a huge amount of Android making its way into iOS 5, perhaps the post-Jobs Apple have taken a softer approach to following competitor trends.
Other detail is thin on the ground surrounding this rumour, but if indeed this 7.85-inch iPad does make its way onto the market in 2012, it could be one of the most telling indications of a post-Jobs Apple yet.