Is Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) going to play it again? A USA Today article on the early success of the iPod Mini, takeover rumors, and analysts' comments added up to hot times for Apple shares, which flew to a new 52-week high at one point in the day. However, it seems there's a lot of speculation and not enough concrete information at this point.

The rumors refer to unsubstantiated whispers of a takeover by Sony (NYSE:SNE). Meanwhile, analysts are talking up the iPod and implying that perhaps the iPod's success could open consumers' minds to other Mac products, most notably computers. (I find that interesting because I've endured Windows users mocking my Mac for years.)

USA Today points to iPod Mini's success, offering as proof that the company's website asks Mini maniacs to endure a wait of one to three weeks for the device, though I couldn't find this when I performed a quick browse of the site. It said that (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Best Buy's (NYSE:BBY) websites both showed unavailable status for the product. (My own quick check of Circuit City's (NYSE:CC) site earlier showed that the blue Mini model is still in stock, though the other snazzy colors are sold out.) Further, people trying to cash in on the craze and tight demand apparently have iPod Minis docked on eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY).

A sold-out iPod Mini is great news, but so far we don't know the total numbers involved here. Last we heard from Apple with an official number, it said that 100,000 iPod Minis were pre-ordered ahead of the launch weekend, a figure USA Today echoed today as the number sold. (Tight demand now, though, certainly could create a lot of consumer hype over the product.)

To give an historical comparison here, it's only been two weeks since the Mini launch; when the original iPod hit the market, it took six weeks to sell 120,000 units. Last quarter, 730,000 iPods were sold.

Who knows, maybe only diehards are snapping up the Minis this early, and everybody else is going to take a pass later, but signs point to healthy demand. Apple has always had a small but loyal cult-like following. Though the iPod and its smaller cousin might help launch that cult into an Apple mass movement, I question whether today's Apple mass hysteria was warranted.

Whether you're an Apple shareholder or a Mac or iPod enthusiast, there's a place for you here -- check out the Apple or Apple Users discussion boards, both of which are heavily trafficked at

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any companies mentioned. She's had nightmares about iPod People attacking... no, wait, that's Pod People.