Apple may be giving the iPad lineup the old iPhone treatment after the release of the iPad 3 on March 7th. According to RBC Capital analyst Mike Abramsky, Apple may lower the price of the iPad 2 to create a two-tier price structure after the iPad 3 announcement. Like the iPhone 4, the iPad 2 could be sticking around, and then slotted in at cheaper price point to address the lower-end competition on the market currently.
The rumor has been around since the iPad 2 was announced, and many speculated that the original iPad would still be on the market to do the same thing that Abramsky is suggesting Apple would like to do with the iPad 2 this time around. It didn’t happen last time, and it may not happen this time either.
People are buying the iPad at its current price, so there’s not really any indication that Apple needs to offer up a cheaper iPad. That being said, surveys have been showing that iPad owners typically fall in the higher income brackets. A report from the NPD group has found that iPad owners tend to be older and more wealthy than other tablet owners, finding that 40 percent of iPad owners have a household income of $100,000 or more compared to just 26 percent of non-iPad owners.
There’s clearly a market for cheaper tablets, but the question is whether or not Apple sees a need to address the lower end tablet market. If there’s one saving grace for the rumor it’s that Apple is taking the education sector very seriously moving forward. Apple has released tools for education professionals to get content directly in front of students. A cheaper iPad option, like a discounted iPad 2 after the iPad 3 ships, would certainly go a very long way in getting iPads in more students hands.