Rumors have been flying for several weeks about Apple’s next generation iPad. Most expect Apple to follow a similar pattern as with previous iPad launches, both in terms of device lineup and pricing. DigiTimes, however, has been insisting that Apple plans to split the line. Citing sources in the supply chain, they have repeatedly claimed that Apple will release two iPads, one to appeal to higher-end customers, and one aimed at the mid-range.
Today, DigiTimes is offering more details about what they expect from the next iPad lineup. They claim that with the launch of the two iPad 3 models, Apple means to drop the price of the iPad 2 to $299, which would put it solidly in the middle of the price range of competing Android tablets - including the Kindle Fire. Considering that Apple currently rules the tablet market anyway, such a maneuver could put the iPad in an even stronger position against the competition.
As to the iPad 3, the report claims that both models will have an A6 processor - the successor to the A5 chip currently in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. The main difference between the two will be that the high-end model will get a retina display, while the mid-range model will get the same panel as the iPad 2.
As always, a rumor is a rumor, and should be treated as such. While Apple splitting a product line to appeal to a wider audience is hardly without precedent - they’ve done it with most of their computer lines - it is something they’ve consistently resisted doing with iOS devices. Rumors of a mid-tier iPhone have cropped up almost every year since the original iPhone’s release. While the iPad 2 pricing rumor seems pretty likely, I still don’t buy that Apple will split the iPad 3 line.
What do you think? Should we expect two iPad 3s, or will Apple keep doing what they’ve always done. Sound off in the comments.