Apple's Asian suppliers have reportedly started mass production of a new tablet computer smaller than the iPad, raising expectations that the tech giant is set to unveil it's iPad mini within weeks.
South Korean firm LG Display and AU Optronics of Taiwan began mass production of the smaller LCD screens for the new gadget last month, executives at the component makers said.
The report by The Wall Street Journal comes as rumours intensified that Apple was preparing to launch its new tablet within weeks to fend of competition from rivals.
The leak comes as two new images purporting to show case components for the new, smaller iPad were published by a Ukrainian iPhone fansite.
The positioning of the ports on the leaked images correlates with previous leaks and rumours about the hotly anticipated device.
The Wall Street Journal cited unnamed 'executives at component makers' which claimed mass production had begun of 'a new tablet computer smaller than the current iPad'.
Two sources said the new tablet will have a 7.85in liquid-crystal display with a lower resolution than the latest full-size iPad, which was released in March.
Apple is expected to introduce the iPad mini on October 17th - just a week before arch rival Amazon launches its Fire range of tablets in the UK.