Apple rumored to be readying an even cheaper iPad for 2018

In 2017 Apple released its cheapest full-sized iPad ever, giving more budget-conscious tablet buyers (think schools and businesses) a lower-cost option to those shiny, feature-packed iPad Pros that support the Apple Pencil and clip-on keyboards and all those other extras.

Well, in 2018 Apple is apparently going to go even lower - DigiTimes is reporting that the 9.7-inch tablet will get a price cut to around US$259 (roughly £190 or AU$340). The current model starts at US$329, so that's a drop of more than 20 percent.

That would make it even more appealing for schools looking to kit out a classroom of kids, or anyone wanting to get some Apple tablet goodness at a very decent price, but given the hefty price drop that the tablet was given this year, it's questionable whether Apple could pull off the same trick again so soon.

Do the maths

As AppleInsider points out, the iPad would probably have to use inferior-quality components or make other sacrifices to the tablet to hit that price point. What might actually happen is that the hardware remains unchanged but the tablet gets discounted as it gets older.

DigiTimes and its anonymous sources have a varied track record when it comes to predicting what Apple's going to go, so don't bet the house on this one yet. There's no doubt though that Apple will want to continue having a few budget iPads on its roster.

Next year should be packed with Apple products, from the successor to the iPhone X to the delayed HomePod smart speaker. One of the first new devices we might see is a refresh of the budget iPhone option, the iPhone SE, which might give us a clue about what's in store for Apple's lowest-priced iPad.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.