Hot on the heels of analyst-based reports regarding a smaller iPad, Bloomberg is out with its own story this afternoon.

The credible news outlet says that it has received word from people with “knowledge of the plans” that Apple is looking to unveil a 7-8-inch tablet this October…

Bloomberg reports:

“Apple Inc. (AAPL) plans to debut a smaller, cheaper iPad by year-end, two people with knowledge of the plans said, to help maintain dominance of the tablet market as Google Inc. (GOOG) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) prepare competing handheld devices.

The new model will have a screen that’s 7 inches to 8 inches diagonally, less than the current 9.7-inch version, said the people, who asked not to be identified because Apple has’t made its plans public. The product, which Apple may announce by October, won’t have the high-definition screen featured on the iPad that was released in March, one of the people said.”

Some folks believe that this report was actually a controlled-leak from Apple itself, to help draw attention away from Google’s new Nexus 7 tablet. It’s almost as if Apple was saying, “don’t buy the Nexus 7, there’s a 7-inch iPad on the way.”

Interestingly enough, rumors that Apple was planning something for the low-end tablet market were around long before Google unveiled its Nexus 7. In fact, The Wall Street Journal confirmed the smaller iPad’s existence all the way back in February of this year.

At any rate, it’s starting to look more and more likely that we’ll see an “iPad Mini” this October. And most folks seem to agree that it will house a 7.85-inch display with a 1024 x 768 resolution, and come with a $199-$249 price tag.

[9to5Mac]