The rumor that a 7 inch iPad might be in the works for release by early 2011 started circulating today and was quickly picked up by most technology blogs. It seems that the rumor started from a post on iLounge and spread from there.
I’m not really sold on that idea, though. I can think of several activities, such as reading fiction, which I would prefer to do with a slightly smaller and much lighter version of the iPad. I would be reluctant, however, to give up the ease of use and productivity of the current crop of iPad applications which go way beyond what you have on the iPhone and iPod Touch.
While I’m sure that Apple probably has several concept devices in the works and in testing, early 2011 might be too soon to introduce such variations of the main iPad design. I do expect Apple to introduce a second generation iPad early in 2011, but I don’t expect that Apple will choose to present us such wide variation from model to model as to have a whole different line or an iPad mini, if you will.
Should Apple decide that there is a market for a smaller iPad, it would probably make sense to introduce it several months after the second generation iPad has hit the market.