Mini iPad eyed by Apple as it loses HTC battle

US technology giant Apple yesterday lost a key London court ruling against Taiwan’s HTC, just as reports emerged that its hotly anticipated smaller and cheaper iPad would be on sale by the end of the year.

The production of Apple’s latest iPad is already under way, according to the Wall Street Journal. The new model – nicknamed the mini iPad – is expected to feature a screen that’s seven to eight inches diagonally, less than the current 9.7-inch version.

It is believed that Apple could sell the device for just $199 (£127) – less than half the cost of the present iPad which ranges between £399 and £699.

Meanwhile, in the patent dispute with HTC, the judge ruled that HTC had not infringed four technologies that Apple had claimed as its own. The technologies included the slide-to-unlock feature, which the judge said was an “obvious” development in the light of a similar function on an earlier Swedish handset.

The ruling prevents Apple from banning its rivals products in the UK.

Apple declined to comment yesterday.