Speculation is tugging Apple
Taiwan's China Economic News is reporting that Apple is working with contract manufacturers in the country to build iPads with 7-inch screens, smaller than the 9.7-inch gadgets that have sold millions since their springtime launch.
Building on a hot product with different screen sizes at different price points wouldn't be new to Apple. It does this with MacBooks. There are also a wide array of iPod configurations. Why not an iPad mini? The shocker is that the smaller iPad -- not to be confused with the even smaller iPod touch -- may hit the market as early as this Christmas.
However, just as scuttlebutt is building on an iPad with a smaller screen, some folks are dreaming out loud about Apple making a splash with an even bigger screen.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster is turning heads this week, alluding to the possibility of Apple rolling out high-def televisions as early as 2012. Web-tethered HDTV from the Cupertino craftsmen? Wow.
Now that I have your head going in two different screen size directions like a crowd watching a tennis match between the Williams sisters, let's pop both of those balloons.
A more portable iPad is inevitable. Amazon.com
I'll pause here so we can all hear the echoes of laughter for Steve Jobs and his minions.
As for an actual Apple television set, this wouldn't be the first time that a computer company tries to make a splash in the living room. Hewlett-Packard
Apple's different, of course. It has established itself as a premium brand. The rub here is that Apple hasn't exactly proven itself worthy when it comes to home theater. Its Apple TV set-top box has been a rare dud for the company. Google
Apple can make a serious dent in consumer electronics, but only if its refreshed Apple TV box is a hit first. This won't happen overnight, so just as an iPad mini in 2010 is premature -- an Apple HDTV in two years is also unfashionably early.
Apple will get there. Fans just need to be a little more patient.
Would you buy an Apple HDTV or an iPad mini? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is set on adding Apple's set-top box to the growing number of Apple products in his home, but he doesn't know about an actual television. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy, and it knows that roaming charges weren't billed in one day.