Even though Apple hasn't announced or confirmed that a smaller form factor iPad is coming, the Wall Street Journal is claiming its sources tell it mass production is already underway.
The Journal's sources also backed up the rumor that the smaller iPad model will have a 7.85-inch display with a lower resolution than the 9.7-inch Retina Display iPad.
They didn't say when to expect the smaller iPad on store shelves, but Fortune's Philip Elmer-Dewitt has already stepped up to the plate to help narrow down that time frame. Earlier this week he said his sources were targeting October 10 as the date Apple will send out invites for an unveiling media event. Assuming his unnamed sources are correct, we should expect to see the media event happen around October 17 and a possible release around the same time as the company's fourth fiscal quarter earnings report on October 25.
Until Apple makes an official announcement mini iPad reports are still rumors, although with the WSJ on board, it seems far more likely that a new iPad model is coming soon.