The Wall Street Journal is reporting that mass production on the so-called iPad Mini has started. The 7.85-inch iOS device is said to include a liquid-crystal display, but no Retina display. The report, which is based on contact with “people with knowledge of the situation,” says that LG Display and AU Optronics started manufacturing LCD screens for the new device in September.
The exclusion of a Retina display on the iPad Mini shouldn’t come as a surprise. Without Retina, the price of the iPad Mini will almost certainly be much lower than current iPad models. This, in turn will help Apple enter the growing sub-tablet market, which is heavily influenced by price.
For example, Amazon’s original Kindle Fire is priced at $159, while the Kindle Fire HD, and Google’s Nexus 7 are priced at $199 each. By contrast, the least expensive tablet from Apple is the $399 16GB iPad 2.
Long-rumored, the iPad Mini has caused quite a bit of buzz in recent days.
First, it was reported that Apple’s iPad Mini event would be held on Oct. 17, with press invitations set to arrive a week earlier. Next, rumors began circulating that the smaller device was being built in Brazil.
Finally, new photos purportedly showing parts from the iPad Mini were published by a Ukrainian website. These photos suggest the iOS device will include a black rear shell and nano-SIM card slot. Additionally, the device’s Lightning connector appears at the bottom, while the headphone jack is at the top of the device.
Unless the rumors are completely wrong, it looks like October could be just as exciting for Apple fans as September was. Not only could Apple use the Oct. 17 event to unveil the iPad Mini, but also iTunes 11 could make its arrival there too.
We’ll keep you updated.