Smaller iPad Coming Next Year?

If the 9-inch iPad is an enormous iPod touch, what does that make the rumored 7-inch version? An iPad mini? The iPad Portable? Or maybe just the product Apple should have made in the first place, since it will come at a lower price point and won’t require a special jacket just to carry it.

According to Digitimes, Apple is prepping a 5- to 7-inch iPad, which will retail for under $400, and could hit stores early next year.

Digitimes Research senior analyst Mingchi Kuo, citing talks with upstream component sources, said Apple’s smaller-size iPad will be priced below US$400 and will target the highly-portable mobile device market and consumers that focus mainly on reading and do not have a high demand for text input.

So, will this complete the iEcosphere — or will Apple introduce a 22-inch iPad maxi in a couple of years, along with a new line of carrying cases to haul it around?

Apple reportedly planning a smaller-size iPad for 1Q11 [Digitimes]