Partners in Apple’s iPad supply chain have started delivering samples of 7.85-inch iPads for verification, with volume production likely to begin in the third quarter of 2012 at the earliest, reports “DigiTiimes” (, quoting unnamed industry sources.

The article says the 7.85-inch iPad is apparently “to take on Amazon’s US$199 7-inch Kindle Fire as well as a comparable model from Barnes & Noble.” Expect the “iPad mini” to sell for US$249-$299.