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Apple could be set to follow up its iPad with a smaller, micro-sized version of the device, it has been claimed.

Mingchi Kuo, an analyst with DigiTimes Research, says a scaled-down version could hit the shops as early as next year - potentially offering another alternative for wireless broadband users.

The iPad, which is still awaiting its UK release, only hit the US market this week, but the expert claims Apple is already looking towards an ultra-portable, full-colour reading device as a follow-up.

While the existing tablet has a screen of 9.7ins, the smaller version could offer a display of between 5 and 7ins, it is claimed.

Kuo said sources within the component manufacturing industry had informed him of the plan, which will no doubt interest mobile broadband providers in the UK.

O2 and Orange have been strongly rumoured as potential carriers for the Apple iPad, which IT Pro Portal reports could be launched on April 24th in the domestic market.

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