Production Has Begun on a Smaller iPad

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The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) Asian component suppliers have begun production of a new tablet computer that is smaller than the latest iPad model that came out in March.

South Korea’s LG Display and Taiwan’s AU Optronics last month began mass production of the LCD screens for the new device, according to people familiar with the matter. This smaller tablet is said to have a 7.85-inch liquid-crystal display with a lower resolution than the current iPad.

Apple’s new smaller tablet comes at a time competition is increasingly fierce in the fast-growing market segment. Apple is trying to stay competitive against rivals such as Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), which are already offer smaller, less-expensive alternatives to the iPad.

Earlier this week, CNN.com report on rumors that a “major Apple investor” had heard from “multiple sources” that invitations to a press event will be sent out on October 10. If Apple follows its usual pattern, that implies a product introduction on October 17, followed by a launch date of November 7 for the new iPad.

Apple, following its long-standing practice, has declined to comment on such rumors.

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