After years of declining sales, Apple’s iPad lineup finally saw a return to growth this year. During the company’s June quarter, Apple saw year-over-year revenue and profits from its iPad lineup jump by 6% and 12%, respectively. During the more recent September quarter, iPad sales increased by 11% compared to the year-ago quarter. A modest increase, to be sure, but still a step in the right direction following quarter after quarter of declining sales.
Looking to build upon that momentum, rumor has it that Apple is thinking about releasing a more affordable version of its current 9.7-inch iPad model sometime in 2018. Originally brought to light by Digitimes, the rumored iPad may be about $70 cheaper than the current model which retails for $329.
“The device should be able to attract more demand from price-oriented consumers,” the report notes, “allowing Apple to maintain its present 10 million-unit tablet shipments a quarter.” To this point, Apple last quarter sold 10.3 million iPads.
At this point, it’s well established that iPad owners hold onto their devices for much longer than iPhone owners who typically upgrade every 2-3 years. Though Apple has certainly seen success with pricier models like the iPad Pro, some iPad owners aren’t necessarily looking to pay more money for a device with a more expansive feature set. That being the case, a more affordable 9.7-inch iPad may be the lure necessary to convince users with older iPad models to upgrade, while perhaps drawing in new iPad owners as well.
“Apple is also looking to expand the inexpensive iPad into the industrial and service sectors,” the report adds.
Apple’s more wallet-friendly iPad may arrive sometime in the second quarter of 2018, which is to say it may not hit store shelves until June at the absolute latest.