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A miniature Apple iPad coming soon?

CDN CURATED: A new, smaller iPad may be in stores for Christmas

Is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) preparing tp debut a new iPad Mini? That’s the rumour du jour, courtesy Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Fortune:

According to our source, who asked not be named, there appears to be some truth to the widespread rumors that Apple is preparing to launch a smaller and cheaper version of the iPad — often called the iPad mini or iPad air and usually described as having a 7.85-inch screen.

(Click here to read “Rumor: iPad mini invitations set to be mailed out Oct. 10)

When Apple first launched the iPad, cynics dismissed it as an oversized iPhone that couldn’t make phone calls. Of course, that criticism proved to be off base and the iPad went on to become an amazing market success.

While an iPad in the 7″ will blur the line between the tablet and the iPhone even further, it would also mean bad news for competing tablet vendors. While the market isn’t as large as the 10″ tablet space, Research in Motion’s BlackBerry Playbook and a number of Android tablet vendors have had it to themselves. Apple’s entry would end that advantage.