Take this one with the normal Digitimes grain of salt, but our favorite Taiwanese equivalent of sending your kid brother out with a Mr. Microphone is reporting that Apple is prepared to release several smaller alternatives to the iPad, as early as the end of this year.
According to Digitimes, Apple is preparing 5 and 7 inch versions of the iPad featuring OLED screens with the intention of targeting the two smaller versions at ebook readers while leaving the 9.7 version for “entertainment”. Digitimes says that orders have already gone out to manufacturers. No word on if they would have the same capacities and wireless options as their big brother, and of course, not a whisper of pricing or data plans.
I am VERY dubious about this one for the following reasons…
- OLED screens? WHAT OLED screens. Phone makers have already laid claim to every OLED and TFT that can be made up until the day before doomsday, which looking at current shortages ain’t many. Of course this is Apple so who knows what sort of deal they can swing. However, analysts are saying that the current shortage will not even begin to ease until the last half of 2011.
- Tipsters have already penciled in September and the end of this year for the newest iPod Touch push, bringing the device in line with iPhone 4 (sans Antenna) and Apple doesn’t like to overshadow itself. Of course, If they are making a 5 inch iPad, would Apple still choose to produce the 3.5 inch iPod Touch, which people are more and more calling just a small iPad? 3.5 or 5 inch, I can’t see Apple making both.
- It isn’t like Apple to target a device to specific market. They have bent over backwards to stress the iPad does everything, why then release versions especially as ebook readers? Not good marketing.
Of course, I could be totally wrong and we may have dozens of different little iPad models by next year…but I doubt it.