According to a report Wednesday from the Wall Street Journal, executives from Asian component suppliers that piece together Apple's iPhones and iPads said production of a smaller-sized iPad, presumably called the "iPad Mini," has begun. Display makers LG Display and AU Optronics were said to be manufacturing LCD screens for the new tablet.
Sources also told the Journal the new iPad will have a 7.85-inch display, compared to the 9.5-inch display found on all previous-generation iPads. The new device will also have a lower screen resolution than the 2,048-by-1,536 Retina display boasted by the latest, third-generation iPad.
Apple's smaller tablet, which is also expected to tout a lower price tag than previous iPads, would compete with other 7-inch tablets, including Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's new Kindle Fire HD. Sales of Google's Nexus 7 tablet have been strong, according to Tech-Thoughts.net, which in August projected the internet search giant to sell as many as eight million tablets by the end of the year, a big jump compared to Google's original projection of three million.
Amazon has also managed to shake up the tablet market with its 7-inch Kindle Fire. According to analyst firm IHS iSuppli, Amazon was the third-biggest tablet maker in the world during the second quarter, falling only behind Apple and Samsung with 4.8 percent market share.
A separate report from IHS iSuppli suggests the 7-inch tablet market is significantly on the rise, with shipments in 2012 expecting to total 41.1 million units, nearly double the 20.8 million that shipped last year.
PUBLISHED OCT. 4, 2012