Apple could be clearing the way for an entry-level, cut-price version of the iPad, as it bids to see off competitors in the tablet market.
According to a report from DigiTimes, the Cupertino-based tech behemoth has inked deals with new, Taiwanese component manufacturers for lower grade parts than those used in the current-gen iPad 2.
A source cited by the Chinese tech news site claims that the move is part of a pre-emptive strategy rethink, with Apple “adjusting the cost structure” for iPads to entice customers away from the “array of tablet PCs to be launched by rivals in the second half of 2011”.
The report comes amid speculation that Apple is also preparing to launch a more expensive, higher-end tablet aimed at so-called power users.
Informally dubbed the iPad Plus, the device is purported to feature a higher-resolution screen than its predecessor with pixel density of between 250 and 300 pixels per inch.
How far Apple needs to appeal to the lower end of the market to see off Android tablets is a moot point, however. Yesterday, John Gruber of influential Apple blog Daring Fireball calculated that the iPad has outsold Android tablets by a margin of 24 to one, suggesting that its number one position will be secure for some time yet.