AUO reportedly tapped to supply displays for Apple's rumored 7.85-inch iPad

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A new report claims Apple is lining up suppliers for a 7.85-inch iPad, and that the company recently inked a deal with AU Optronics to provide displays for the rumored device.

Monday's report from the Chinese-language Economic Daily News (via Google Translate) is the third in five days to claim that Apple is planning to release a so-called "iPad mini" in the third quarter of this year. On Saturday, a leaked document from Samsung Securities indicated Apple planned to release a "new 7-inch product" later this year.

And last week, DigiTimes also claimed that Apple will begin production of a 7.85-inch iPad in the third quarter of 2012. It was said the device could be priced between $249 and $299.

Monday's report sided with on screen size, saying the 7.85-inch panels will be supplied by AU Optronics as well as LG Display. Apple will, however, exclude its rival Samsung from supplying displays, the report claimed.

LG is expected to provide Apple with between 70 and 75 percent of the displays for the rumored "iPad mini," while AUO will supply the remaining components. Backlights for the alleged device will be supplied by Radiant and Forhouse, the report said.

Finally, the Chinese newspaper also claimed that production of the 7.85-inch iPad will be handled by Pegatron Technology. That would be a shift for Apple, as most of its devices, including most iPads, are currently assembled at Foxconn, but Apple has recently come under fire for its partnership with the company.

While most claims of a smaller iPad model have come out of the Far East, last month The Wall Street Journal joined the fray and reported that Apple was testing a new iPad with an 8-inch screen, smaller than the 9.7-inch display currently found on Apple's touchscreen tablet. The smaller device is rumored to have a screen resolution similar to the current iPad 2.