Yesterday, Bloomberg reported Apple has a smaller iPad in the works approximately 7-inches to 8-inches in size that may be scheduled for an October unveiling. Today, a report from The Wall Street Journal backs the rumor by claiming Apple’s suppliers are now preparing for mass production of the device in September, which would make an October unveiling alongside the next-generation iPhone all the more likely if true:

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Apple Inc.’s AAPL +1.16% component suppliers in Asia are preparing for mass production in September of a tablet computer with a smaller screen than the iPad, people familiar with the situation said, suggesting a launch for the device is near.

Two of the people said that the tablet’s screen will likely be smaller than eight inches.

Officials at the component suppliers, who declined to be named, said this week that Apple has told them to prepare for mass production of the smaller tablet. The Wall Street Journal reported in February that Apple was testing such a device but hadn’t yet decided whether to proceed with production.

Although rumors of Apple working on a smaller iPad were around long before the unveiling of Google’s new Nexus 7, many reports speculated that Apple is moving to compete with new 7-inch devices unveiled by both Google and Microsoft. The rumored October launch for the device was first reported by in May by iMore.

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