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iPad 2 Early Release Rumors

New rumors suggest that the iPad 2 may be released earlier than expected, as soon as the fourth quarter of 2010 (which would be right about now). Further, rumors say that the Apple tablet will come with smaller screen options at 5.6 or 7 inches.

The information originated from Taipei-based company Digitimes, whose unnamed sources say that Apple¬†“recently placed new iPad orders to Taiwan-based component makers for the fourth quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011 with 9.7-inch, 5.6-inch, and 7-inch models all included.”

The release of smaller screen models suggests that Apple is also targeting the e-book reader market. The 9.7-inch version will receive some changes, but will still be intended for multimedia and entertainment. As consistent with earlier reports, the current gossip says that the newest iPads will feature OLED screens.

However, these are fairly ambitious rumors. For one, OLED screens are expensive and difficult to obtain. According to Digitimes Research senior analyst Mingchi Kuo, a 9.7-inch OLED screen would cost about $500. Additionally, Kuo remarks that the current largest OLED maker, Samsung Electronics, is not even capable of supplying its own products with enough OLED screens. Indeed, using OLED would be an odd reversal in screen choice as Apple already chose to use its ultra-high definition Retina display over OLED for the iPhone 4.

Also, these market strategies do not seem to fit Apple. The company has not been one to release multiple mobile devices in order to meet demand. Instead, Apple has usually produced single, well-tailored products whose applications and usage can vary.

Either way, Apple probably has enough problems as it is with iPhone 4 mania. One, Apple is dealing with how fast consumers are depleting the stocks of iPhones, and two, Apple is dealing with the complaints that ensue when the consumers find all the things wrong with it.

[Photo courtesy of pinterest.]