“7.85” is the obscure number of inches that DigiTimes’s Max Wang and Steve Shen this morning report will define the display of Apple’s (AAPL) next iPad, which they write will arrive some time in 2012 prior to the fourth quarter, citing anonymous supply chain sources.
That device is expected to be in addition to the iPad 2′s immediate successor, which will come out at the end of the first quarter of the year.
Apple has been persuaded to do a 7.85-inch device by seeing the Amazon.com (AMZN) “Kindle Fire” come to market, as well as large-screen phones.
Indeed, some phones such as the Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) “Galaxy Note” are pushing the bounds of smartphones, resembling small tablet computers.
The DigiTimes report comes on the heels of research firm IDC’s Q3 report on “media tablets,” which said that tablets missed IDC’s estimate last quarter, selling just 18.1 million units versus 19.2 million expected, with Apple selling most of those (11.1 million).
However, IDC expects tablet computers based on Google’s (GOOG) Android to “make dramatic share gains” in Q4, rising to 32% of units shipped to 40%.
The Kindle Fire is expected to be the main force behind that, and to some extent the Barnes & Noble (BKS) Nook, the firm reports.