Apple's iPad Mini could be unveiled on October 17
AN iPad mini could be unveiled by Apple in just two weeks as the brand seeks to compete with cheaper, smaller tablets such as Amazon's Kindle Fire.
It is believed that Apple's suppliers in Asia have begun production of the new tablet computer, which will be smaller than the existing iPad, according The Wall Street Journal.
It is thought the smaller tablet will have a 7.85-inch display with a lower resolution than the 9.7-inch model currently available.
The iPad Mini will be a direct rival to Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire, which are both seven-inch tablets and offer a smaller, less-expensive alternative to the existing iPad.
Apple's iPad 2 currently costs £329, while the Nexus 7 is sold for £199 and the Kindle Fire is available for £159.
Apple could unveil the new device in two weeks, on October 17, just a week after Amazon releases the Kindle Fire in the UK.
The tablet is also tipped to go on sale on November 2, but it is unclear whether this will be in the UK or just the US.
If the launch follows the same pattern as for previous iPads and iPhones, two events will simultaneously take place in San Francisco and in London.
The new iPad is expected to have the same hardware as the iPad2, released last year.
Market research firm IHS iSuppli predicts global tablet sales will rise by 85pc this year.
Last year, the iPad had a 60pc share of the market.
By Alice Philipson Telegraph.co.uk