iPad Mini display production line firing up this month, report says

apple ipad smaller 7 inch screen conceptWe’re in August now, which means we’re just one month away from Apple pulling the wraps off a number of new devices (probably), such as the iPhone 5 (likely), a new iPod touch (possibly) and an iPad Mini (maybe).

After all the talk, rumors and whisperings, it’s almost unthinkable that the Cupertino company won’t be unveiling a smaller iPad to compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus 7 tablets.

With the excitement reaching fever pitch (among some tech observers), surely the Cupertino tech giant would have come forward to dampen down speculation if there definitely wasn’t an iPad Mini in the works, for imagine the level of disappointment if Tim Cook takes to the stage and proffers a revamped iPhone and nothing else. Someone in the audience might even boo.

A Cnet report late Wednesday further stoked the fires of speculation with the claim that a 7.85-inch display for the rumored iPad Mini is going into production this month.

Paul Semenza, an analyst for DisplaySearch – a market research firm specializing in the display supply chain – told Cnet: “We expect panel production to start in August, with production ramping up to high volumes (more than a million units per month) in the fourth quarter.”

Recent chatter suggests Apple will be releasing a new phone, iPod touch and iPad Mini at a special event on September 12, though of course, the company has so far kept its lips firmly sealed on the matter.

Both Amazon and Google have released 7-inch tablets in the last year, each priced at $199, with healthy sales reported. While any iPad Mini would presumably hit the market with a higher price tag, it could still badly damage any hopes the two companies have of dominating the compact tablet market.