iPad and iPad mini
iPad and iPad mini Apple

Despite losing co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs, who died on Oct. 5, Apple hasn't slackened its pace of growth and, if rumors are to be believed, the Cupertino-based technology giant is all set to release iPad 3 as well as a 7.85-inch iPad Mini in 2012.

According to DigiTimes, Apple is very likely to launch an iPad with 7.85-inch display (iPad Mini) in the fourth quarter of 2012, and take on the challenge thrown by Amazon's latest star - Kindle Fire.

DigiTimes reported that Apple is building a mini version of iPad, with a 7.85 inch display, to stop smaller-sized tablets from cutting iPad's market share. DigiTimes said the source of its information came from a supply chains. It suggested that the LCD of the mini iPad will be supplied by LG Display and Taiwan-based AU Optronics.

Apple has the world's bestselling tablet, iPad, and Apple wants to maintain the status quo. The mini iPad will be slightly larger than Amazon.com's e-reader Kindle Fire, which has a 7-inch display. Kindle Fire sales has recently been surging high as Amazon announced earlier last week that it had sold one million Kindle devices in each of the previous three weeks. With a nearly sixteen percent market share, Amazon is challenging Apple in the tablet market.

Analysts believe that Apple will make the mini version more affordable to fight against the $199 Kindle Fire. However, the company's move will be against its former CEO Steve Jobs, who was against any tablet with a displa smaller than 10-inch.

Meanwhile, it is widely believed that the iPad 3 will arrive in the first quarter of 2012 or around the same time as when an updated version of Kindle Fire would hit the market. According to rumors, iPad 3 will continue to bear the 10-inch display but will boast of better features, such as A6 processor, 128 GB memory storage, better cameras, Siri, iCloud and 4G LTE compatibility. The device is also expected to boast of Retina Display (2048 x 1536 pixels resolution). It is believed that all these upgrades would require a thicker chassis and a better battery.

An updated MacBook Air notebook line is also set to launch in the first half of 2012, according to DigiTimes. So far, Apple has two versions of MacBook Air, in 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch sizes respectively. Hence, a 15-inch model could be on its way to compete with Ultrabooks.

Must Read: Two Next Generation iPad to Debut January 2012: Real Deal or Rumor?