The launch of an iPad "mini" is inevitable at some point in the future, at least according to one industry analyst.
Shaw Wu with Sterne Agee says Apple has been experimenting with screen sizes ranging from 4-12 inches since way back in 2009.
However, the latest rumors point to the eventual advent of an iPad with a 7.85-inch display and a screen resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels.
Nevertheless, Wu was quick to emphasize that the launch of an iPad "mini" probably wouldn't be happening anytime soon.
"We do not sense that the release of an iPad mini is imminent and quite frankly, exact timing is difficult to predict," he explained in an industry note obtained by AppleInsider.
"However, we do believe it makes both fundamental and strategic sense for [Cupertino] to address at some point."
According to Wu, a smaller iPad would make strategic sense, as it could help Apple stave off the competition posed by Android and (upcoming) Windows 8 tablets which are available in a variety of form factors.
Indeed, Wu said he believes a smaller iPad would be "the competition's worst nightmare," as most companies are already finding it quite difficult to keep up with Apple's iPad, which starts at $399.
To be sure, only Amazon has managed to gain serious traction with its $199 Android-powered Kindle Fire, although Google is expected to try and enter the tablet market sometime in the near future with a similarly priced device that offers unfettered access to the OS and Android market.