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Is Apple prepping an 8GB iPad 2 to launch March 7?

A new report from Digitimes says Apple will follow its earlier iPhone move and offer a cheaper iPad 2 to flank the iPad 3 on store shelves.


Apple might be following its earlier iPhone strategy with next week's iPad 3 announcement, according to a new report.

Citing sources, Digitimes is reporting today that Apple could unveil an 8GB iPad 2 at its iPad 3 event on March 7. The move, the publication's sources say, would allow it to "cover different segments" of the market, including those currently controlled by cheaper alternatives, like the Amazon Kindle Fire or Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet.

When Apple announced the iPhone 4S in October, the company also said that it would offer an 8GB iPhone 4 for $99 with a two-year agreement. The iPhone 4, which previously came in 16GB and 32GB flavors, was on sale for $199 prior to that announcement.

With new pressure from cheap alternatives, it only makes sense for Apple to offer a more affordable iPad to those who want it. If the company follows its iPhone model, it'll offer the iPad 3 at full price and some sort of iPad 2 at a discounted rate. The question, then, is will it be the 8GB model Digitimes claims will launch or something else?

At first glance, 8GB of storage seems awfully minimal on a tablet that can house a user's music, movies, apps, and other content. The iPad 2 currently comes in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models. Why Apple wouldn't just discount those options rather than develop an 8GB option is unknown.

Of course, there's always a chance Apple might do something else. The company could finally launch that long-rumored 7-inch iPad at a discount. It might also decide against a cheaper iPad altogether and only offer the iPad 3.

Given Apple's penchant for secrecy, it's unlikely the company will even come close to divulging its plans, but CNET has reached out to the iPhone maker for comment. Expect to wait until next week to find out once and for all what Apple has planned for tablet customers this year.