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Thursday, April 08, 2010, 04:55 am PT (07:55 am ET)

Apple plans 5- to 7-inch $400 iPad for early 2011 - report

Apple could be planning a smaller, cheaper version of its iPad tablet device with a screen size of 5-inches to 7-inches, and a price under $400, for launch in the first quarter of 2011, according to a new report.

Citing its senior analyst, Mingchi Kuo, DigiTimes reported Thursday that Apple is "expected" to release the new device in early 2011. Kuo cited "talks with upstream component sources," who said the device will focus mostly on reading and other mobile tasks that do not have a "high demand" for text input.

The analyst also said he believes the forthcoming HP Slate will not have an impact on sales of Apple's iPad, largely due to its Intel processor which consumes more power than Apple's custom-built A4. With virtually no competition in the tablet space, Apple managed to sell 300,000 iPads on its first day of availability.

The first-generation iPad has a 9.7-inch LCD, LED backlit screen with IPS technology. The existing iPhone and iPod touch have screen sizes of 3.5 inches.

Last year, reports suggested Apple tested screen sizes ranges from 4 inches to 12 inches in size as its iPad was in the prototype phase. Some of the orders placed were said to be enough for a significant small production run, rather than just a simple sample.