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Production of 7.85in iPad mini underway, report suggests

It's been three weeks since the debut of the feature-packed iPhone 5, but the impact of the well-designed device has been such that even some of the most seasoned Apple analysts started to doubt the widely held rumour that a smaller iPad would be coming this month. Now, just as the frenzy around the new iPhone 5 begins to die down, a new report claims that the iPad mini is indeed currently in production.

The report appeared in the Wall Street Journal and cited "people with knowledge of the situation" who claimed the 7.85in iPad is now being mass-produced in several factories in Asia. Although there have been many rumours surrounding the possible release of a smaller iPad, this is the latest claim from a credible source that it is coming from Apple in the near future. According to the source, the iPad mini will come with a lower resolution screen than that of the standard iPad, and production of those screens began last month via Taiwan's AU Optronics and South Korea's LG Display.

Adding to the drumbeat of rumours predicting an October iPad mini release, another report earlier this week claimed that invites for an iPad mini press event will be sent out on 10 October. The report backs up an earlier claim by the Wall Street Journal's tech unit that said Apple was planning separate events for the iPhone 5 and iPad mini.

Speculation around the impending release of the potential new device has been intense, mostly due to the fact that Apple historically doesn't release two major new hardware products in such rapid succession. However, given the mounting challenges from the likes of Samsung and Google in the smaller tablet category, Apple's usual practice of staggered releases has likely been upended by the dictates of a newly competitive marketplace.