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.

Related: iPad Pro 10.5 review

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