Smaller, bigger tablets to go head to head

July 16, 2012 at 9:12 PM

NEW YORK, July 16 (UPI) -- Apple Inc. may be going smaller while some U.S. competitors are looking to go in the opposite direction in the tablet computer wars, industry analysts say.

Apple is developing a new tablet with a 7.85-inch screen that is likely to sell for significantly less than the latest $499 iPad with its 9.7-inch display, several people with knowledge of the project told The New York Times.

The "mini-iPad" is expected to debut this year, the sources said.

Amazon is said to be developing a new version of the Kindle Fire with a larger display to compete more directly with the current iPad, the Times reported.

Apple's strategy of offering a smaller device is intended to keep customers who want different sizes tablets firmly wed to the iPad product family, analysts and technology industry executives said.

A smaller iPad could appeal to people who do not carry their iPads with them because they find them too large and heavy, said Leslie Grandy, a former Apple manager who is now a consultant to start-up companies.

While a device with a 7-inch screen is likely too big for pants pockets, she said, it would be a good fit for women's purses.

"I really do feel like this is the sweet spot for [Apple]," she said.

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