We've heard plenty of rumors surrounding Apple's iPad Mini, but most of them have come from international sources with an unproven track record in predicting Apple rumors. This time around, however, The Wall Street Journal says it has confirmed with its own sources that Apple is indeed working on a smaller version of the iPad that will offer a screen size under 8-inches.

The paper said Apple originally played with the idea of a smaller tablet but hadn't decided if it was definitely going to move forward with development. Now, Apple is reportedly scheduled to start "mass production" of the iPad Mini in September, which corroborates a bit with other reports suggesting a fall launch.

We think it's interesting timing for this report to surface, especially since the Nexus 7 tablet just made its debut. Is Apple simply toying with Google and hoping consumers gravitate away from making a Nexus 7 purchase? The idea seems plausible. As many of our readers have already said before, Apple's iPod touch technically already is a mini version of the iPad. Still, a 7-inch screen seems like a nice sweet spot to us.

Take this story as you will, but at least we're now hearing reports from a much more credible source than we have in the past.

[via The Wall Street Journal]