$299 iPad on the way?

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With the iPad 3 expected  to arrive in 2012 (fingers crossed), Apple will have three iPads in the market. So, the question becomes, what will Apple do with the original iPad 1?

Apple could, of course, simply drop the iPad 1. As a single core machine, it will be lag even further behind the iPad 2 and the iPad 3. However, Apple has historically liked to have three price points in the marketplace: a high, middle, and low.

I would not be surprised to see Apple offer the iPad 1 in 2012 for $299. Of course, Apple might simply come out with a low-end iPad 2 at the same similar price point.

This would effectively suck the remaining oxygen in the market. The only tablet left at a lower price would be the Kindle Fire. However, with only a $99 price difference, the vastly increased functionality of an iPad would make it an easy step up for tablet purchasers.

Of course, price and processor speed are not the only issues. The deciding factor in who wins mind and market share is functionality and ecosystem. At the present time, Apple has a definite lead. However, both Amazon and Google are making interesting bids for the tablet crown.

  • Amazon has already built up a strong marketplace for books, videos, and music. Plus, Amazon has made itself the default player for self-publishing with the Kindle platform.
  • Google already has video. The new Google Music platform makes a very attractive offer for music publishers and independents to publish and share music. Plus, the tie-ins with YouTube make for a very strong marketing combination. It would be surprising if Google did not follow-up with a book publishing and sales option.
  • Google is positioning itself to make publishing, profiting and sharing music, books, and videos easy.

These competitor pressures may drive Apple to release a low-priced iPad in 2012.

What do you think? Will we get an iPad for $299 (or less) in 2012?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Håkan Dahlström