Reports out of Taiwan has Apple scaling down display panel orders in the second and third quarters of 2012, but not getting rid of them entirely, sparking rumors that the iPad 2 may be sticking around after the announcement of the next-generation iPad.
From Digitimes:[quote]Apple has downwardly adjusted shipments of iPad 2 panels from the peak of 16.0 million panels in the third quarter to 10.0 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011 and further to 7.0-8.0 million units in the first quarter of 2012, the sources indicated. Thus, the shipment volume of panels for use in the new version of iPad will surpass that of iPad 2 panels in the second quarter of 2012, the sources noted. The shipment volume of iPad 2 panels will decrease from 48.0 million units in 2011 to an estimated 25.0 million units in 2012, while an estimated 40.0 million panels for use in the new version of iPad will be supplied in 2012, the sources pointed out. [/quote]
The rumor has been around for a couple of months now, so we wouldn’t be completely surprised if Apple decides that having two iPad editions on the market at one time, just like the iPhone, is the best thing for the company moving forward. The iPad is already cheaper than most comparable tablets. Rumors of a Windows 8 tablet have indicated that the Windows-Intel device could weigh in at $599.00. If Apple keeps the iPad 2, lowers the price, and releases a new iPad this year, well, it’s pretty much lights out for any hope of gaining marketshare for Apple’s competitors.
Pretending all things are equal, and that the price difference between the iPhone 4S ($649 contract-free, entry level device) and iPhone 4 ($549 contract-free, entry level) at this particular time is the same discount that would be available on an iPad 2, we could be looking at an iPad as cheap as $399.00 if this all worked out the way rumors suggest it will.
An iPad at $399.00, despite being an older model, would clean up large on the market, and that’s assuming Apple sells the device only at a $100.00 discount.