iPad mini rumors: 7.85-inch iPad tested in Apple labs

Last month, a Samsung official said that his company had been asked by Apple to manufacture components for the device.

Now Apple watcher and writer John Gruber of Daring Fireball revealed that Apple is testing a 7.85-inch iPad in its labs.

During an episode of “The Talk Show,” Gruber responded to host Dan Benjamin’s question: “Is Apple going to come out with a 7″ iPad, and if not: why not?”

“Well, I don’t know,” Gruber said. “What I do know is that they do have one in the lab. A 7.85-inch iPad that runs at 1024 x 768, and it’s just like the 9.7-inch iPad shrunk down a little bit. Apps wouldn’t need to be recompiled or redesigned to work optimally on it, it’s just the iPad, smaller. Which I didn’t believe at first, but I’ve heard this before, and I’ve done a little screenshot testing on an iPad.”

He also suggested that a mini iPad could be released at Apple’s WWDC, since a new iPhone is unlikely to be presented at the event.

“If you want me to speculate, [it] could be something they’ll release at the WWDC timeframe, because I don’t think they’ll have a new phone by then,” Gruber said. “I think the phone is now on a fall schedule. I don’t think they’ll release a new phone within a year of the previous phone, so I don’t expect a new iPhone 5 or 6 or whatever the hell you want to call it — or if you go with the iPad, the new iPhone — I don’t expect the new iPhone at WWDC. Would they want to ship something else in that time frame so they would have something new to sell? I don’t know.”

A smaller iPad would make a strong competitor to Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which has a 7-inch screen.