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Apple 'iPad Mini' is planned, Samsung official tells Korea Times

The rumor of Apple developing a smaller-screen "iPad Mini" is sticky. It won't go away. It seems not to want to die or be forgotten.

It's akin to stepping into a wad of melting gum on a burning Arizona summer sidewalk that leaves dirty remnants behind, even after you've cleaned it off, because that gum slid itself into the caverns between the grooved tread on the sole of your sneakers.

On Wednesday, it seems the tech world stepped in another wad of iPad Mini rumors after the Korea Times reported that an unnamed Samsung official told the newspaper that Apple was "planning to release a smaller iPad, probably with a 7.85-inch screen," later this year.

The report also said that Samsung is supplying the 9.7-inch touchscreens found in the third-generation iPad, as well as a solid state drive supplier for Apple's MacBook Air laptops.

With all that going on, Apple will be paying Samsung about $9.7 billion to $11 billion in supply costs, depending on consumer demand for iPads and MacBooks, the Korea Times said.

It should be noted that while Apple and Samsung are business partners, they're also rivals and currently suing each other in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia, with more than 20 lawsuits and counter suits filed in at least 10 countries.

Samsung officials were unavailable for comment and Apple has a policy of not commenting on rumors.

The last time we saw the iPad Mini rumor pop up (twice actually) was back in February when speculation swirled that Apple was testing a smaller tablet in both 7-inch and 8-inch screen sizes.

If Apple were to produce a smaller iPad, it would be a huge reversal of a very public stance against small tablets.

The late Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder and longtime CEO, also shot down the idea of a 7-inch iPad stating that, at that size, "the screen is too small to express the software."

Not helping the iPad Mini cause much so far is the fact that 7-inch tablets have historically failed to catch any sort of consumer attention with one exception -- the Amazon Kindle Fire.

Amazon says it has sold millions of Fire tablets, but the Seattle company also doesn't disclose specific sales numbers. Some analysts have estimated that the Fire is the only tablet that has been able to cut into the iPad's market share with any major significance

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