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Friday, August 27, 2010, 07:40 am PT (10:40 am ET)

Rumors of 7-inch iPad persist; Apple parts with developer of tablets

Another report has claimed Apple plans to build a smaller, 7-inch iPad, and the company has severed ties with a California design firm after nearly a decade, because the company publicly showed off its own iPad-competing tablet prototype.

Samsung hopes to compete with 'mini iPad'

Taiwan-based tech industry publication DigiTimes reported Friday that Samsung plans to unveil its new tablet PC in September. The report said that Samsung decided it would not make a 10-inch model, to compete with Apple's 9.7-inch iPad, but would instead release a device with a 7-inch display.

That size, sources allegedly indicated, was chosen to compete with a 7-inch "mini iPad" that Apple is rumored to release.

"Since Samsung skipped the 10-inch panel format and jumped directly to 7-inch panel, the sources believe the company is actually aiming at Apple's upcoming 7-inch iPad for competition and not the current model," the report said.

The publication has repeatedly said that Apple plans to offer a new, smaller iPad with a screen size of 7 inches, and other reports have indicated the same. Earlier this month, the Chinese-language newspaper Economic Daily News indicated that the device would have a weight of 500 grams, reduced from the current hardware's 700 grams.

Apple severs ties with developer of tablets

Surface Ink, a small design firm based in Silicon Valley, has lost Apple as a customer, according to The New York Times, after the company publicly showed off a 12.1-inch tablet prototype. The company's relationship with Apple is unknown, but SurfaceInk indicated that the parties had "gone in separate directions."

Apple decided to move on, the report said, because SurfaceInk's latest business moves apparently "unsettled" the iPad maker. It indicated that SurfaceInk's showing of a 12.1-inch tablet prototype in June at an electronics trade show was enough to shoo Apple away.

"The device was meant to showcase SurfaceInk's design capabilities to potential clients... (but) Apple viewed those capabilities as a potential threat," the report said.