Apple planning to milk Christmas shoppers with late 2014 release of iPad Air 2 and new iPad mini

Apple's suppliers have kicked off production of the new generation of iPads, according to reports.

Citing people with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg claims that a new 9.7in iPad will be launched at "the end of this quarter or early next" and that a smaller, 7.9in version will see an end of year release.

Read more: Laptops are dead, long live laptops: Is our fling with the tablet already over?

Apple's tablet business is not in a good way right now. Sales of the iPad, which Apple first unveiled in 2010, have plummeted over recent months.

However, this issue might not be exclusive to Apple. According to Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly, the entire tablet industry is suffering, due to a device that the tablet actually looked like it was going to replace.

"The tablets boomed and are now crashing," he said. "I think the laptop has something of a revival because it's more versatile."

In a bid to tackle this dramatic decline, Apple last month announced that it has partnered with technology giant IBM.

Read more: Apple and IBM sign landmark enterprise mobility partnership

The two traditional enemies want to combine the best of their consumer products with the best of their business software and completely take over the enterprise.