Advocates for a Kindle Fire-sized iPad are constantly combing the Internet for information morsels about the device like cryptozoologists looking for Yeti clues, and Monday they found another one.
A website called oled-display.net has published a report from Korean securities firm Samsung Securities where a passing reference is made to the elusive "iPad Mini."
"Following the success of its iPad 1 and iPad 2, which together achieved sales of 55m units, Apple plans in 1Q12 to launch the iPad 3 and in 3Q12 a new 7-inch product temporarily referred to as the iPad mini," Samsung analyst JungHoon Chang wrote in a report dated December 8, 2011.
The remark about the iPad Mini was a casual reference in the report [PDF] which focused primarily on the AMOLED display market in 2012.
Stories about a pint-sized iPad have been flogged for months, but they really perked up around the time Amazon launched its seven-inch Kindle Fire tablet.
Reports about the iPad Mini have been largely discounted because Apple's late co-founder, Steve Jobs, hated the form factor. Jobs' remarks, though, were made before of Amazon's Android-based tablet during the holiday season last year.
If Chang's prediction about the iPad Mini were accurate, it would be released in time for this year's holiday season, still many months away.
The fact remains, though, that Apple has no compelling reason to produce a mini tablet, despite Kindle Fire's nudge against the iPad. Apple's iPad sales are doing fine and will likely explode during this quarter with the introduction of the iPad 3, which is expected to be launched on Wednesday.
In addition, while the Kindle Fire was a holiday success, the verdict isn't in on the staying power of the form factor.
What's more, the limitations of the seven-inch tablet pinch Apple's larger view of what a tablet should be -- not just a device for media consumption, but one for both creation and consumption.
Nevertheless, those considerations haven't discouraged iPad Mini advocates from pressing their case in the past and they're unlikely to discourage them from flogging it in the future.