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The iPad is great, but it's so damn expensive. That may be about to change.
Anonymous sources with intimate knowledge of Apple's supply chain told DigiTimes that the tech giant is considering releasing a 9.7-inch iPad for only $259 in 2018.
The new, inexpensive 9.7-inch iPad would be used to attract more customers that think the current model (which costs $329) is too expensive. The belief seems to be that a $70 price reduction would be enough to lure more customers into purchasing the tablet.
The sources expect Apple to release the new iPad in the second quarter of 2018. In addition to its typical consumer base, the company may try to push the device into the industrial and service sectors.
It's unclear whether Apple will alter the device's hardware or design to cut the cost. Digitimes reports that the company will outsource the iPad's production to Taiwanese manufacturer Compal Electronics, which also counts Acer, Lenovo, Dell, Toshiba, and Hewlett-Packard among it clients.
A price cut would come as little surprise. Tablet sales have fallen greatly in the past several years, and the iPad lost out to the Microsoft Surface Tablet in national consumer satisfaction for the first time this year.
The lower cost could help the iPad compete among price-conscious customers with high-end, cheaper tablets from competitors such as Amazon, Asus, and Huawei.
If these rumors are true, perhaps it's not the end of the Tablet era after all.