Is Apple Planning an “iPad Nano?”

Rumors out of China point to a new round of downsizing over at Apple, with both a new 7-inch iPad and an 11.6-inch replacement for the aging MacBook Air almost ready for release.

Word from Apple's production facilities in Shenzhen says there are five different baby iPad designs floating around, presumably to keep people guessing, but that the production version is likely to look more like a bigger iPhone 4 than a smaller version of the current iPad.

Details about the hardware are pretty sketchy, but the news is that it will be about 30% lighter than the current iPad. Production is expected to start in December

While its hard to argue with the sales numbers, the iPad's size has always been a bit awkward. It's too big to fit most jacket pockets, resulting in a huge aftermarket for special iPad friendly clothing and cases.

The new MacBook Air is more of surprise, especially when you consider how Steve Jobs dissed netbooks during the iPad launch. While its power and price will likely make it more of an ultraportable than a netbook, it's interesting that Apple still sees a market for a tiny computer with a physical keyboard.

To set it apart from the 13.3-inch MacBook, the new Air is said to have gone on a strict weight control program, with a partial carbon-fiber enclosure to keep the bulk down. Orders placed with primary supplier Quanda suggest that Apple wants to ship 400,000 to 500,000 of the mini Airs before the end of 2010.

We'll keep you updated as we learn more.

Via Apple Insider and here, via SlashGear

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