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Asian component suppliers for the technology giant are preparing for mass production of the tablet, whose screen would be smaller screen than that of the iPad, to start in September, the paper said, citing people familiar with the situation.
Previous reports had said that Apple, led by CEO Tim Cook, was testing a smaller tablet, but had yet to make a final decision on whether to proceed with it.
When the new Apple tablet could be officially unveiled and sold wasn’t immediately clear, but the Journal said the news out of Asia suggests a launch was near.
Its sources said the screen could be smaller than eight inches, compared with the iPad’s 9.7 inches, which hasn’t changed since the first model launched in 2010.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.
Last year, Apple had a 62 percent global tablet market share with its iPad, the Journal said, citing data from research firm IHS iSuppli.
Analysts have said that Apple needs to continue to innovate to fend off increasing competition in the tablet space from the likes of Samsung, Amazon.com, Microsoft’s recently unveiled Surface and Google.
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