Apple’s 8-inch iPad now in production – WSJ Online

2 + 2 = 2 ?
Mockup of iPad Mini via cheluasme/Flickr

Have your eyes on a smaller iPad? You may be in luck as The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple’s Asian component suppliers have begun mass production on the yet-to-be-official, smaller, 8-inch iPad.

Though the actual device is by no means confirmed, WSJ is fairly reliable when it comes to Apple rumors. The leaks that they’ve reported on point to a 7.85″ (diagonally) display with a smaller resolution than the 9.7″ iPad. This makes the most sense as it will be an introduction to Apple’s iPad for those that may have been unwilling/unable to justify a $500 tablet purchase. As mentioned in the source article, the long standing meme that Steve Jobs was not in favor of a 7-inch tablet has long been debunked by the internal emails that came to light during the Apple v. Samsung trial over the summer (Steve Jobs after all, famously remarked “no one reads anymore” just one year before iBooks was announced).

The 7-inch tablet space is going to be a crucial and overcrowded space come this holiday shopping season and if rumors are true, Apple is hoping to stand out in shoppers minds with it’s rumored mid-October announcement – possibly stealing some of thunder from Microsoft’s first batch of Surface tablets. The biggest question will be can Apple price this thing to remain competitive against the cheaper Android tablets (the Kindle Fire starts at around $160)?