The late Steve Jobs may have publicly dismissed the idea of an 'iPad Mini,' but an analyst claims that Apple has been experimenting with smaller screen sizes for some time and its release is a question of when, not if.

Analyst Shaw Wu with Sterne Agee, told Apple Insider that Apple has been putting some serious thought into a smaller iPad since 2009. Wu believes a mini iPad would strategically make sense in an increasingly competitive market. 

In a note to investors Wu said a smaller iPad would be The competition's worse nightmare. The current iPad, which boasts a 2048 x 1536, 3.1 million-pixel Retina display, already has significant competition fromsmaller-value tablets. 

The Amazon Kindle Fire is modestly priced at $199, and later this year Google is expected to offer its own 7-inch tablet priced at $250. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 will be released on April. 22 and will come in two different sizes. The 7-inch version will cost $250 and goes on sale on April 22. The 10-inch version will cost $400 and goes on sale on May 13.

The Galaxy Tab 2 Series, available in both 10.1 and 7.0 screen sizes, are powerful dual-core tablets running the latest version of Android -Ice Cream Sandwich, said Samsung in a press release. The devices feature an integrated IR blaster for universal remote capabilities, as well as an easily accessible memory card slot for convenient loading of multimedia files in a range of supported file formats.

Wu believes that the release of a iPad Mini would become the new entry-level model, undercutting the iPad 2, which is currently priced at $399. 

We do not sense that the release of an iPad mini is imminent and quite frankly, exact timing is difficult to predict, Wu told Apple Insider. However, we do believe it makes both fundamental and strategic sense for AAPL to address at some point.

Rumors surrounding the mini tablet suggest it will have a 7.86-inch screen with a 1,024 by 768 pixel display.

Meanwhile, Apple's new iPad has topped the tablet rating chart of Consumer Reports, beating the likes of the Galaxy Tab 7.7 and Toshiba Excite 10LE.

The revolutionary tablet has been heralded for its 2048 x 1536, 3.1 million-pixel Retina display. A new benchmark in excellence, providing the best rendering of detail and color accuracy we've ever seen on a tablet display, says about the tablet.