According to industry sources cited by Digitimes, the 7.85-inch iPad will likely enter volume production in the third quarter of this year.
The site reported that the handset is already being manufactured by the company’s Asian partners.
The mini tablet will sell for between $249 and $299 and it might compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook.
Steve Jobs was reportedly against the idea of a smaller iPad as he said in 2010 that they would be “dead on arrival,” because their small size would keep them from properly functioning.
“It’s meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size,” Jobs said during a conference call with investors in late 2010.
Recently, Apple announced that its next keynote will take place on March 7 and the company send out invitations to journalists.
The invitations sport a photo of what looks like an iPad touchscreen and reads: “We have something you really have to see. And touch.”
The image shows that the handset will have a new high resolution screen, confirming the rumors on the arrival of a Retina Display.