It seems like Apple is “considering” releasing an updated but even less expensive 9.7-inch iPad next year with a starting price that’s $70 low than its existing equipment.
The news comes following a report by DigiTimes, an upstream source that is a hit and miss when it comes to such predictions. This year, Apple was able to introduce a $349 iPad, making it the cheapest full-sized iPad ever. And now, reportedly, the company planning to offer one at an even more competitive price in 2018.
According to the report, Apple’s 2018 version of the 9.7-inch iPad could cost even less at around $259, in a bit to attract more demand from price-oriented consumers and maintain its current tablet shipments of 10 million units a quarter.
With the new device, the sources expect the tablet market to witness a new wave of price competition among first-tier players including Samsung Electronics, Amazon, Huawei and Lenovo.
The sources pointed out that Apple’s new iPad may arrive in the second quarter of 2018 and in addition to regular consumers Apple is also looking to expand the inexpensive iPad into the industrial and service sectors.
The move by Apple is to offer a more affordable budget-friendly iPad that is currently in its lineup stems to offer a solution for price-conscious markets. These markets including those buying for industrial deployments, and of course, customers would also likely snap up a full-sized iPad at such a competitive price point.
In November earnings call, Apple reported a double-digit unit growth in iPad sales for the second consecutive quarter. But Apple did not provide a breakdown of sales across tablet models. Prior to that, in June 2017, it was admitted that the sales f 11.4 million iPads, an increase of 15% compared to the year-ago quarter. iPad revenue was also up, but only 2 percent year over year, suggesting Apple was selling a lot of new lower-priced 9.7-inch iPads in particular.
For the upcoming year, who will build the new tablet? Compal Electronics will be that putting everything together, with the gadget itself penciled in to arrive in the second quarter of 2018. However, the worldwide market of tablets declined for a tenth straight quarter on a year-over-year basis during the first months of 2017.
As per the sources cited today, Apple’s aggressive pricing strategy with the next 9.7-inch iPad aims to offset the continuing overall decline, which has seen most second and third-tier brand vendors already step out of the market.
It is also likely Apple to outsource the production of the new 9.7-inch iPad to Compal Electronics while giving the device’s PCB orders to Compaq and Unitech Printed Circuit Board. Currently, all the companies declined to comment on their orders or clients.
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