Rumors of Apple announcing a new low-cost iPad during the education event it will be holding next week have been bubbling along for a little while, and with Bloomberg reporting the same thing today, we now have more faith than ever in there being a new tablet on the horizon.
If, as expected, that new tablet is a cheaper option than any currently available, the assumption may be that it will not support the Apple Pencil, keeping the accessory as an iPad Pro-only option. However, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, this may not be the case at all.
Kuo says expectations are that Apple Pencil shipments will rise to up to 10 million units this year, with his justification being that the increase in sales will be down to the fact that “the new low-cost iPad may support Apple Pencil.”
Kuo’s theory is that the inclusion of Apple Pencil support will allow Apple to better differentiate the low-cost device from similarly priced Android tablets.
Strong demand for low-price 9.7-inch iPad in 2017. iPad shipments hit 43.8mn units in 2017, well above the 35mn units forecast by the market at the beginning of the year. The primary driver was the low-price 9.7-inch model, whose selling points are competitive pricing and a significantly larger panel than those of six- to seven-inch smartphones (iPad mini was a flop because it was replaced by large-screen smartphones). In a bid to strengthen its selling points and to differentiate it more from low-price Android tablets, the new low-price 9.7-inch iPad (starting mass production in 2Q18) will likely support Apple Pencil.
The inclusion of Apple Pencil support in Apple’s unannounced new iPad would of course make plenty of sense given its arrival at an education event, especially one with an invitation that would certainly appear to be teasing something Apple Pencil-like.
If the new iPad does cost the rumored $259, then it would most certainly represent the least costly way to get into the Apple Pencil to date.
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