iPad Mini in the Works?

With all the absolutely absurd iPad refresh rumors permeating the digital air as of late, it's been difficult to sort out what's slightly possible from the completely insane. The following rumor might be somewhere in between crazy and real, but the idea is fun enough that we'd like to share it no matter what. The rumor we're referring to here is for the iPad Mini.

This rumor centers around the iPad 3 notion floating around this morning, though it's unclear whether the iPad 3 would be the same thing as the iPad Mini or if they'd both be released closer to the end of 2011. But wait, that'd be crazy – that would mean that Apple would have to release the iPad 2 sometime very soon in order to have enough time to develop a third and maybe a fourth iteration by the end of the fourth quarter of this year!

One of the sources for both rumors is blogger John Gruber, who, apparently with "iron-clad" Apple inside sources, has pronounced iPad 3 as real and as being released before the end of this year. In the following statement written by Gruber yesterday, "If my theory is right, they're not only going to be months behind the iPad 2, but if they slip until late summer, they might bump up against the release of the iPad 3," the HP TouchPad is said to be releasing in between iPad 2 (which, if what he guesses is true, will be being released this spring,) and the iPad 3, which, again if he's correct, will be inside 2011, maybe even inside this coming summer.

And what about the iPad Mini? TGDaily writer Raven Lovecraft is guessing that this will either be released near the iPad 3 or will actually BE the iPad 3, releasing near the end of 2011 and roughly the size of a Samsung Galaxy Tab. One handed iPadding? Sounds alright, yes?

We've got a feeling though that it just isn't true. While the release of two versions of the iPad before the end of 2011 might be a possibility to combat the oncoming tide of Android Honeycomb tablets, a Mini doesn't follow with what's been said in the past about such a size of slate. On the other hand, a 7-inch iPad has been tipped before, so who knows?