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iPad Mini rumors surface again

Reuters' sources say that Apple is prepping "new camera-toting iPads" that could come in two sizes.

Just a few days after reports of iPad 2 rumors flooded the blogosphere, Reuters is stoking the fires with a story that says Apple is "preparing new iPads," as in plural. And one of those models, according to the usual anonymous supply chain sources, is "about half the size of the current tablet computer, and will include front- and back-mounted cameras" for Apple's FaceTime video-conferencing app.

Two for 2011? GeekGloss

Aside from the cameras, one source claimed the new iPad "would be slimmer, lighter, and have a better-resolution display than the first iPad."

Duh. None of that's new info--or particularly revealing (of course, the new iPad is going to be slimmer and have a better screen, right?). But it's interesting that we continue to hear chatter about Apple having a smaller iPad up its sleeve. Back in October, Steve Jobs famously scoffed at the notion of a 7-inch iPad, insisting the screen would be "too small to express the software." Since then, Barnes & Noble has released the $250 7-inch Nook Color and several other Android-powered 7-inch tablets have hit the market or will soon.

As part of its story, Reuters reporters quoted Steven Tseng, an analyst at RBS in Taipei, who said, "It makes sense for these suppliers to begin delivering their goods in February. I think Steve Jobs will announce the new product in January, and we should see the new product hitting shops in about April."

Yes, the iPad was announced on January 27, 2010, but when Jobs announced it there wasn't another iPad on the market to clear out of the channel. So, we're not sure why Jobs would unveil a new iPad--or perhaps iPads--a good two months before they were to go on sale. A few weeks maybe, but two months, probably not.

In any case, that's the latest iPad intel out of Asia. Just something to consider while you're standing in line at your local Apple Store buying an iPad this holiday season.

More: Is now the wrong time to buy an iPad?