iPad Mini Release Date: Apple Receives Sample With 7.85-Inch Screen

Apple reportedly received 7.85-inch screen samples of its iPad that sports the 1024x768 resolution of its current iPad computer tablet.

This report, which was done by Taiwan's United Daily News, claims that AU Optronics and LG DIsplay have sent samples of the display to Apple.

Apple is reportedly aiming to launch the "iPad Mini" early next year.

A smaller version of the current iPad model by Apple would include the same interface capabilities as its bigger cousin. But some say that the smaller iPad could also come with several usability issues due to its size.

Apple already has competition within the computer tablet market, especially from Amazon.

Amazon sold 95,000 Kindle Fire pre-orders on its first day of sales.

Brian White, analyst for Ticonderoga Securities, previously noted that his research among Asian suppliers is hinting towards Apple releasing an "iPad mini" early next year to take on the Kindle Fire.

White went on to clarify that the "mini" moniker will be in reference to the device's price point rather than a size reduction.

"Regarding Apple, our research is pointing to the unveiling of a lower priced iPad in the first few months of 2012 that is aimed at expanding the company’s market potential by tapping into a more price sensitive consumer segment, " White said. "Essentially, this 'iPad mini' will also fend off the recently announced Amazon Kindle Fire that addresses the low-end tablet market with a $199 price tag but could lead to bigger tablet ambitions from the online retailer in the future. The 'mini' refers to a reduced price point of this iPad and not necessarily the size of the device. We believe this lower priced iPad could be priced in the mid-to-high-$200 range."

Steve Jobs' previous comments about 7-inch tablets lead some to believe that these rumors are untrue.

At a quarterly earnings conference call last year, Jobs tried to silence these rumors. "The reason we [won't] make a 7-inch tablet isn't because we don't want to hit that price point, it's because we think the screen is too small to express the software," Jobs said. "As a software driven company we think about the software strategies first."

So far, no official information on the supposed "iPad Mini" has surfaced.