New 9.7-inch iPad: Apple tipped to launch cheapest iPad ever in 2018

Apple is rumoured to be working on a brand new iPad model that would see the price of the tablet drop to its lowest point ever.

After the launch of the £999 iPhone X earlier this year, it seemed as though the days of even semi-affordable Apple tech were over. An entry-level iPhone 8 costs £699, while the cheapest full-size iPad will set you back at least £339.

But a new rumour circulating online suggests that Apple may have plans for a new and inexpensive 9.7-inch iPad, set to launch in 2018.

The information comes courtesy of Digitimes, a well-known industry news site that regularly reports on Apple’s supply chain. We should, however, note that Digitimes has a mixed track record for leak accuracy, due to the difficulties of procuring reliable information from supply chain sources – rather than from Apple directly.

According to Digitimes, suppliers suggest that Apple is “considered a new, inexpensive 9.7-inch iPad priced at around US$259 for 2018”. Given Apple’s pricing track record, we’d expect such a device to launch at around £259 in the UK too.

The report goes on to say that the decision is a result of Apple hoping to target a new market of price-oriented consumers, in order to maintain its 10 million-unit tablet shipments per quarter.

It’s also likely a response to increasing competition from rivals like Samsung, Amazon, Huawei and Lenovo, all of whom offer tablet options that are vastly cheaper than Apple’s fare. In fact, some Amazon-branded tablets dropped to as low as £29.99 over Black Friday – that’s an end of the market that Apple hasn’t even touched.

The sources – who have not been named – are cited as saying that the new iPad should arrive in the second quarter of 2018, although no firm release date has been mooted thus far.

What do you think about the prospect of a new, cheap iPad? Let us know via Facebook or tweet us @TrustedReviews.

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