According to the WSJ report, Apple suppliers in Asia are getting ready for production “of a tablet computer with a smaller screen than the iPad”, which suggests a launch date is near.
“Officials at the component suppliers, who declined to be named, said this week that Apple has told them to prepare for mass production of the smaller tablet,” it continued.
According to the WSJ, Apple is likely to call upon LG Display and Au Optronics to supply the smaller screens for its new tablet.
The WSJ report comes after yesterday’s speculation from Bloomberg and NPD DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim that a new Apple tablet was in the planning stage and set to launch by the end of the year.
The report from Bloomberg, sourcing “two people with knowledge of the plans”, states that Apple is planning to “debut a smaller, cheaper iPad by year-end” with a non-Retina screen stretching “7 inches to 8 inches diagonally”.
John Gruber of Daring Fireball also believes, the rumoured iPad mini will use the same display as the iPhone 3GS, due to LCD screens manufactured in large sheets and then cut to the size needed, allowing the company to more easily produce 7.85-inch displays with a 1,024 by 768-pixel resolution.
“These are displays Apple knows they can produce efficiently and in enormous quantities, all they have to do is cut them into bigger pieces,” said Gruber.
Apple sticking with a 1,024 by 768 pixel resolution, would allow existing applications to run natively on the iPad mini with no changes necessary, as the rumoured display would be the same number of pixels of Apple’s first and second generation iPad models.
The height of the rumoured iPad mini would be roughly the same as the width of the current iPad.
Pricing of the iPad mini is believed to range from US$200 and US$300.