Apple has begun mass production of a new tablet pitched as a smaller alternative to the iPad, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The paper cited Asian component suppliers within Apple's supply chain, referencing two people familiar with the device who declined to be named.
According to the sources, Apple's rumored product, dubbed the "iPad Mini," will have a 7.85-inch liquid-crystal display -- noticeably smaller than the 9.7-inch screen of the existing iPad, now in its third generation. It will also be lower-resolution than the iPad 3's Retina display.
The iPad Mini is thought to be Apple's response to the smaller, less expensive tablets offered by its rivals, including Google, Samsung and Amazon.
Reports have suggested that invitations to the launch of the smaller tablet will be formally sent out to journalists on October 10.
According to Japanese Apple rumor blog Macotakara.jp, citing "reliable sources," production of the new tablet has already begun at a Foxconn factory in Brazil, although the site said it has been unable to confirm the rumor.
In August, Bloomberg reported that AU Optronics and LG Display, both existing Apple suppliers, had also been contracted to produce screens for the smaller version of the iPad. The publication's unnamed sources said that the new device will feature a screen of 7.85 inches -- the same size the Journal predicted in its report today.