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Apple has pressed the launch button on its rumored iPad Mini.

Suppliers have finally begun mass production of the smaller iPad, just two weeks before many expect Apple to announce it, sources tell the Wall Street Journal.

LG and AU Optronics are the companies behind the iPad Mini’s display, which will measure 7.85 inches and won’t feature the high-resolution Retina display that’s in the latest iPad.

Previous reports said the Apple would announce the iPad Mini last month alongside the iPhone 5 , but the device never materialized. One explanation (which in retrospect we should’ve expected) is that Apple already had a busy event and didn’t want to squeeze another device into its presentation.

The current expectation is that Apple will announce the device on Oct. 10 or Oct. 17. The device would then be available in early to mid-November.

“Go small or go home” is the new slogan for tablet markers, who are attempting to undercut Apple’s iPad dominance by sidestepping it entirely. As much as Steve Jobs disliked the size, the 7-inch tablet offers a whole different subset of uses that a 10-inch device like the iPad can’t match. And that’s’ why the rumors of the iPad Mini make so much sense.


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