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Apple's rumoured 6-inch iOS device could be the iPad 3 or a big iPod touch

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has publicly rubbished the idea of sub-10-inch tablets in the past, but how about a 6-inch iPod touch? A new rumour suggests it's on the cards for this autumn.

In October last year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs described 7-inch tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab as "tweeners: too big to compete with a smart phone and too small to compete with the iPad", and added that "the current crop of 7-inch tablets are going to be DOA -- dead on arrival". Bear that latter quote in mind when reading the rest of this story.

You guessed it: there are rumours that Apple is working on its own teeny tablet. A report on Czech site SuperApple, translated by 9 to 5 Mac, suggests the company may even have two on the bubble: a 5.7-inch model and a 6-inch model -- although these two separately sourced claims could be referring to the same device. An autumn release date is predicted.

If branded as iPad, the device(s) could be traced to speculation last month that Apple was preparing to launch the iPad 2 in April, and then the iPad 3 in autumn. It seemed like a strange idea to launch two iPads in quick succession, but if the second one is much smaller, that might make more sense.

Here's another reason: perhaps it should be thought of less as a small iPad, and more as a big iPod touch. A 6-inch device for playing games and using apps would go head to head with Sony's NGP handheld, which is due out later this year, as well as the Nintendo 3DS.

Meanwhile, there's some new online chatter about the iPad 2 this week, with tech site MIC Gadget getting its hands on a leather case from an Asian supplier which it claims is for the iPad 2.

"It does not fit our iPad, and we think it is designed for an iPad with tapered sides and a very flat back," explains the report, which comes with an exciting video of the case (below). "Also, the case has a big space for the new upsized speaker and a camera hole which is roughly the same size as that of the iPhone 4 and bigger than that of the iPod touch."