Report: 8-inch iPad in the works

So it seems we finally solved the question of when the iPad 3 will be revealed, but that won’t put a stop to the ever churning iPad rumor mill.

Now, the Wall Street Journal claims to have heard from a source that another, smaller iPad is also due to launch soon. The idea would presumably be to launch a low-cost competitor to Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which has taken the tablet market by storm.

The 8-inch iPad, or to be exact 7.85-inch iPad, according to the Journal, would be a good 2+ inches smaller than the iPad form factor everyone has come to know and love, and it would also be differentiated from the existing small tablets like the Kindle Fire.

For the most part, the tablet market has consisted of 10-inch models and 7-inch models. There have been a few that stuck in between those two molds, but an 8-inch iPad would certainly go against the grain.

If Apple is planning such a device, the question then becomes when it would be revealed. Will it be part of next month’s reported iPad 3 unveiling? Will it have to compete with the excitement of the iPad 3?

For Apple to have a successful “iPad mini” it needs to be able to bring in new customers to the iPad brand without taking away any traction from its more well-known 10-inch products. If iPad customers have to start deciding between different versions of the device, it could start spelling confusion. We’ll see what happens.