Paul Semenza, an analyst at NPD DisplaySearch, has proposed that production of the fabled ‘iPad mini’s’ rumored 7.85-inch screen is set to begin in August, “with production ramping up to high volumes (more than a million units per month) in the fourth quarter.”

Over the past few months, iPad mini rumors aplenty have been hitting the Web, with most claiming that we’ll see the small-size tablet launch alongside the sixth-generation iPhone, at a fall event in the coming weeks or months. Recently, a purported iPad mini case was spotted in the wild, and The New York Times – an oft reliable news source – has all but confirmed the launch of the new, miniature iPad later this year.

Now, NPD DisplaySearch’s Paul Semenza has weighed-in on the speculation. Here are his comments, via CNET:

“We expect panel production to start in August, with production ramping up to high volumes (more than a million units per month) in the fourth quarter,” said Paul Semenza, an analyst at NPD DisplaySearch, in response to an e-mail query.

Semenza said this is Display Search’s “understanding of the activity for the 7.85 [inch] panel expected to be used in the iPad Mini.” If this production schedule plays out, it could indicate a late 2012 launch, he said.

Launching a new, smaller iPad would allow Apple to compete with the recently-launched Nexus 7, an Android-powered, seven-inch tablet that has reportedly been selling out at retailers across America. If Semenza’s speculations are indeed correct, it would place the launch date for the purported tablet sometime in September, which is what we’ve all been expecting.

Of course, nothing has been confirmed by the folks at Cupertino, Calif. - yet. Hopefully, we’ll have more news for you in the near future. In the meantime, let us know if you’d consider purchasing an iPad mini in the comments.

Source: CNET