Target (NYSE: TGT) today said that it will offer Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad beginning next month nationwide. But as the retailer prepares for a vibrant holiday season, you may want to wait for a few more weeks, as we are hearing word that a netbook-sized Macbook Air may be on its way.

According to Target, the iPad will hit store shelves in all of its 1,743 stores beginning Oct. 3. The retailer will offer the entire range of the iPad, including Wi-Fi and WiFi+3G models. Pricing will begin at $499.99, but you could always sign up for a first-day-discount credit card that Target accepts and drive the price of the iPad down a bit.

However, we found the rumors of 11.6-inch notebook orders in Taiwan much more interesting. Quanta said that it has acquired 11.6-inch-notebook orders from Apple, which may be the long-awaited Macbook Air in a netbook form factor. According to Digitimes, up to half a million 11.6-inch models will be shipped in 2010.

Given that the Macbook Air carries a hefty premium and that Apple has said in the past that it won't be offering a "$500 piece of junk," it may or may not be a Macbook Air we're talking about here. In fact, it could be an entirely new design of a premium netbook class for Apple, something that slots right between the iPad and the Macbook for those who would want an iPad with a keyboard.

If we were to speculate, we would put our bets on a Netmac-type of a device that could run iOS, is designed to work with cloud services, and will cost about $600 or $700. A $1,300-plus 11.6-inch Macbook Air doesn't make a whole lot of sense to us.

However, at that point Apple has the 3.7-inch smartphone/iPod, a 9.7-inch tablet, an 11.6-inch Netmac/Macbook, and Macbooks that range from 13 to 17 inches. And, of course, we're still hearing rumors about that 7-inch iPad. Apple has been very careful about not cannibalizing any of its products with a new device, but we wonder whether the 11.6-inch class will begin to take some sales from the iPad or the entry-level Macbook. iOS could be the big differentiator to the Macbook line -- and start a transition of iOS across all Apple product lines.

We are purely speculating here, of course.


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