iPad Pro 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook proudly showing off the latest iPad installment of the tech company. Reuters/Stephen Lam

Apple tablets are some of the most expensive in the market, but the company is considering releasing a cheaper model next year, according to a DigiTimes report.

As of now, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the priciest Apple tablet, sold at $799, while the and the cheapest iPad costs $329 for the 32GB model. Apple also sells the iPad Mini for $399.

Next year’s cheaper iPad could be priced at about $259, which would allow consumers that are on a budget to buy the tablet. The lower price on the 2018 iPad could also lead to price competition among companies like Samsung, Amazon, Lenovo and Huawei, sources from related upstream suppliers told DigiTimes. However, Amazon already sells affordable tablets. Amazon’s new Fire HD 10 tablet with Alexa is sold at $150, while its Fire 7 tablet sells for as low as $50. Meanwhile, Samsung’s latest Tab S3 is on the more expensive side, priced at $699.

The rumored inexpensive iPad could be released in the second quarter of 2018. The company is also reportedly looking to expand the cheaper device into the industrial and service sectors.

Apple Releasing Cheaper Devices

Apple has been seeing weaker sales for its iPad models lately, like the rest of the worldwide tablet market. Last month, during Apple’s latest earnings call, the company said it saw a strong demand for iPad and iPad Pro models, but did not release a breakdown of the number of how many units it sold for each model. In May, Apple said it had sold 8.9 million iPads in the 2017 second quarter, a decrease from 10.2 million iPads in the year-ago quarter.

Releasing a cheaper iPad could lead to more sales of its tablet models. The move would be similar to Apple’s release of the iPhone SE and iPhone 5C, which were inexpensive iPhone alternatives. The iPhone SE was intended to be an affordable smartphone, primarily targeting India. The device was a success in that market, and Apple is reportedly set to release a second version of the handset, the iPhone SE2, next year.

The iPhone SE2 is rumored to hit stores in the first quarter next year and could cost $450. Previous reports have said the new iPhone SE2 will feature a 4-inch screen with Touch ID and may come in 32GB or 128GB models. The handset could also come with an upgraded A10 chip, like the one found in the iPhone 7. The device is rumored to come with a 12MP camera and 5MP front camera, as well as a 1700 mAh battery, which is a bit higher than the 1640 mAh battery found in current models. The iPhone SE2 could also sport slightly thinner bezels.

The release of the cheaper iPhone would follow the launch of Apple’s most expensive smartphone yet, the iPhone X. The iPhone X has a $999 starting price and includes features like the Touch ID, Animoji and an OLED edge-to-edge screen with no home button. Apple previously released the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus in September, priced at $699 and $799, respectively.