iPad demo unitTim Cook may be cooking up something unconventional in Cupertino. Sources in the supply chain tell DigiTimes that a smaller iPad with a 7.85-inch screen may be coming late next year, with screens provided by LG Display. The sources also estimate that the smaller iPads will start production by the end of second-quarter 2012, which could mean they'll be available before the year ends. DigiTimes does have its fair share of accurate reports, sometimes even spot on, but I remain skeptical on this one. The website, quoting its sources, says that Apple was persuaded to develop the 7.85-inch iPads "to cope with increasing market competition, including the 7-inch Kindle Fire from Amazon and the launch of large-size smartphones from handset vendors." The popularity of Amazon's Kindle Fire has almost nothing to do with its screen size. It has everything to do with its $199 price tag and having an Amazon logo on it. Unless the 7.85-inch iPad is priced considerably lower than its big brother, closer to that of the Fire, the competition won't be addressed. But it just doesn't make sense to compete with large-size smartphones with a tablet. How are you going to persuade a customer to buy a 7.85-inch iPad instead of, say, a 4.65-inch Samsung Galaxy Nexus? The customer is looking to buy a phone, and the iPad isn't one. Period. Mostly, it goes against Steve Jobs's view. When the iPad was launched, Jobs made it clear he was against 7-inch tablets. "Seven-inch tablets are tweeners: too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with the iPad," he said. "These are among the reasons that the current crop of 7-inch tablets are going to be DOA—dead on arrival." Jobs was also critical of Android's state of fragmentation, with so many devices with different screen sizes and operating system versions. The iPhone has had the same screen size of 3.5 inches from the first iPhone to the new iPhone 4S, although the latter was widely expected to come with a 4-inch screen. But Jobs is no longer with us, and he advised Tim Cook to just do what's right, without considering what Steve would do in the same situation.Among his last advice he had for me, and for all of you, was to never ask what he would do. “Just do what’s right” Well, it's possible that Apple's still of the opinion that a 7-inch iPad is too small, but that extra 0.85-inch would make all the difference. Or Apple just doesn't care anymore. Or all of these are just unfounded rumors. Your pick. Photo credit: FHKE