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It is believed that Apple will likely begin production of 7.85-inch iPad in the third quarter of 2012 ad the earliest, this is according to a new DigiTimes Report.

The smaller iPad will reportedly will be priced at $249 to $299 & will sell alongside 8GB iPad 2 for $349-$399 & a 16Gb iPad 2 for $449.

“Makers 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, according to industry sources.

The planned launch of 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, although Apple already took up nearly a 60% share of the tablet PC market in 2011, indicated sources.

The price of the 7.85-inch iPad is likely to be set at US$249-299.”