A smaller version of the iPad is in the pipeline, with Apple’s component suppliers in Asia preparing for mass production in September, according to Wall Street Journal sources.
The paper said the tablet’s screen size is likely to be less than 8 inches, compared to the current iPad’s 9.7 inch screen, which has been unchanged since its launch in 2010.
South Korea’s LG Display and Taiwan-based AU Optronics are believed to be working with Apple on the screen for the smaller tablet.
Apple declined to comment.
The report follows the recent launch of Google’s Nexus 7 Android tablet which, like the Amazon Kindle Fire, has a 7-inch screen. In contrast, Microsoft recently announced its Surface, a 10.6-inch tablet seemingly aimed at the current iPad, in terms of spec and price.
With the tablet market evolving into two distinct segments – the premium-priced Apple iPad and smaller, cheaper Android devices – a smaller iPad would allow Apple to compete with the smaller Android devices.
The Wall Street Journal reported in February that Apple was testing a smaller version of the iPad but hadn’t decided whether to produce it commercially. According to market research firm IHS iSuppli, the iPad held a 62 percent share of the global tablet market in 2011.