Apple to release a Mini-iPad?

It looks like Apple has plans to release a smaller, less expensive iPad by the end of 2012.

Two people with knowledge of the plans told Bloomberg News that the new model will feature a screen between seven and eight inches diagonally—as compared to the 9.7 inch version available now.

The reports are also that the mini-iPad will most likely have a lower price, much more comparable to Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire (both have seven-inch screens and retail for $199).

The new version is not expected to have the high-resolution “retina-display” featured on some of Apple’s recently released products.

Currently, Apple has about 61 per cent of the tablet market with its current versions of the iPad. The news, no doubt, sent small designers and manufacturers of Apple accessories into a frenzied guessing game about the new product.

Previously, late CEO Steve Jobs attacked the idea of a smaller version of the iPad on Apple’s Q4 Conference Call in 2010 but various reports make it appear that the company may be moving away from the view of its late founder.