Apple, reportedly planning to release a cheaper MacBook Air later this year

Apple is thinking about releasing an updated low-cost 9.7-inch iPad next year with a starting price that is $70 cheaper than its existing equal, according to the reports reaching us from our sources.

In the month March 2017, Apple released its most affordable iPad, a $329 entry-level 9.7-inch device with internal specs similar to the iPad Air 2, only it had a thicker and heavier enclosure. According to our sources, the 2018 version of Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad could amount to a minimal sum of $259, this is so that Apple can attract more demand from customers who are price-oriented and still maintain its current tablet shipment of 10 million units a quarter.

With the new device, it is expected that the tablet market will witness a new wave of price competition among first-tier players including Samsung Electronics, Amazon, Huawei and Lenovo.

Our sources also state that the new iPad may arrive in the Q2 of 2018 and adding to regular consumers, Apple is also intending to expand the cheap iPad into the industrial and service sectors.

In its November earnings call, Apple reported double-digit unit growth in iPad sales for the second consecutive quarter, but did not provide a breakdown of sales across tablet models. Prior to that, in June, the company reported sales of 111.4 million iPads, an increase of 15 percent 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.

The tablet market worldwide waned for a tenth straight quarter on an annual basis during the first months of 2017. When the news broke in May, Apple stated that it sold 8.9 million iPads in the quarter, a decline from 10.2 million iPads in the same period the previous year, commemorating the 13th consecutive quarter that it had sold fewer iPads on an annual unit basis.

Apple’s aggressive pricing strategy with the next 9.7-inch iPad aims to offset the continuing overall decline, which has already caused most second-tier and third-tier brand vendors to step out of the market.

Furthermore, Apple is likely to outsource the production of the new 9.7-inch iPad to Compal Electronics, while giving the device’s PCB orders to Compeq and Unitech Printed Circuit Board. All the companies declined to comment on their orders or clients.

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