Report says Apple to launch 7-inch iPad by Christmas

Apple is readying another tablet similar to the iPad but with a 7-inch touchscreen for launch as early as the end of this year, according to a major Taiwanese newspaper.

This is the second report of an iPad 2 sighting in Taiwan, and it comes from the island's Chinese-language Economic Daily News financial newspaper, which was among the first to correctly report that Apple was making a tablet when other news sources said it would be a netbook. The launch of the original iPad proved the paper correct.

Taiwan's Digitimes newspaper last week reported that Taiwanese companies were starting to assemble a 7-inch iPad for Apple.

The Economic Daily reports that Taiwanese companies have won a number of component contracts for the iPad 2. Chimei Innolux will supply 7-inch LCD screens, which use the same IPS (in-plane switching) technology found in the original iPad, which improves viewing angles and color on LCD screens. Touchscreen technology for the screens will come from Cando Corporation, the report says.

Apple has also tapped Compal Electronics, one of the world's largest contract laptop computer makers, to assemble the new iPad, the report says.

The companies named in the Economic Daily report declined to comment. Contract manufacturers and component makers normally do not reveal what products they're working on because failure to maintain secrecy can cause them to miss out on future contracts.

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