Supply Chain Preparations Portend Apple iPad mini

The tell-tale heart of the overseas supply chain strikes again; according to a MarketWatch report, component suppliers in Asia are preparing for mass production of Apple’s oft-rumored “iPad mini”. South Korea’s LG is reportedly making the display, and Taiwan’s AU Optronic Co. is in the mix, as well.

Although Apple has dominated the tablet space by a wide margin (and just dealt a fierce blow to second-place Samsung), there are new entrants in the tablet space that should give the Cupertino company reason for concern. Both Microsoft and Google have introduced tablets to the market in recent weeks, and both offerings--the 10.6-inch Surface and 7-inch Nexus 7, respectively--offer compelling alternatives to the iPad.

A smaller version is rumored to be in the offing

Of particular concern for Apple should be the 7-inch tablet space. The smaller form factor is appealing to many, and especially for those on a budget, the much lower price point is hard to ignore. Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Samsung’s 7-inch Galaxy tablets (once and possibly again after the Apple suit is over), and now Google’s Nexus tablet are the big players there, and Apple would be foolish not to invade that particular market segment with a smaller version of its iPad.

It appears as though Apple is indeed planning to do battle on the 7-8 inch tablet front.