Apple Ramping Up for iPad Mini Production

Apple is apparently prepping for September production of a new iPad tablet that’s smaller than the current model. The iPad has been available only in a 9.7-inch screen size ever since it was first introduced, but the rumored new model will come with a smaller touch screen display that will most likely measure less than 8-inches diagonally.

Smaller iPads may be coming soonUnnamed sources told the Wall Street Journal that Apple warned component suppliers just this week that they need to be ready for mass production of the smaller iPad model. Sources also claim that the displays for the second iPad model will come from LG.

Apple released the third generation iPad on March 16 and within three days had already sold three million units. Sales of the third generation model have continued to stay strong, and adding a lower priced model with a smaller display could help increase iPad sales even more.

Amazon jumped into the tablet market at the end of 2011 with its Android-based Kindle Fire, and Google is getting into the race as well with its just announced Nexus 7 tablet. Both ship with 7-inch displays and are generally seen as Apple’s competition should the company launch its own smaller iPad model.

Apple isn’t talking about its plans, although it seems likely the company is preparing to expand its size offerings for the iPad line especially now that the Wall Street Journal has sources backing up the rumor.

Assuming mass production starts in September, Apple is probably hoping to have the devices on store in time for the holiday buying season. If so, it’s likely Apple’s competition — including Amazon and Google — will have to work even harder to draw customers away from the iPad camp.