When DigiTimes reports Apple rumors, I usually ignore them. Today's rumor that Apple will produce a cheaper 8 GB iPad 2 aimed at enterprise usage was just too silly to ignore.
According to DigiTimes, "In addition to iPad 3, Apple is also expected to unveil an 8GB iPad 2, allowing the tablet PC series to cover different segments and to defend against Windows 8-based tablet PCs, the sources noted."
Apple has never been obsessed about market share, and why the company would suddenly want to go for a bargain-priced low-end 8 GB model to compete with an emerging product (Windows 8) or existing cheap tablets (Kindle Fire) is absurd. Sure, the price of the 16 and 32 GB "iPad 3s" will most likely be in the same range as the existing iPad 2s, but both private enterprise and government have been snapping those models up in huge numbers -- even in a stagnant economy.
This rumor is also completely at odds with another DigiTimes rumor -- that Apple is planning to come out with a 7.85" iPad that would come with a lower price tag to compete with Amazon's Kindle Fire, the Barnes & Noble Nook Color, and other Android-based tablets. If, as DigiTimes seems to be asserting, Apple is looking for a less expensive iPad to sell to enterprises, why wouldn't they just produce and sell the fictitious mini-iPad?
Next, unless most enterprises only have a handful of apps that they wish to run on their iPads, wouldn't more storage be a requirement instead of less? From my years working in industry, I recall that we always aimed high in our hardware requirements, since we could get more years out of hardware purchases by spending a bit more and we always found that our in-house applications needed more storage and RAM than originally planned.
DigiTimes also thinks that Apple will forego production of a 64 GB model of the iPad 3. Apparently they haven't been keeping up with power users, who are constantly clamoring for more storage for video and music. There is a slight bit of logic in this assumption, since Apple is making a push towards more storage in the iCloud and that would make onboard storage less of a requirement. Still, there are iPad users for whom iCloud and iTunes Match are not a solution, and who would quickly pony up for an expensive 128 GB model.
What do you think about an 8 GB iPad 2 entry-level model? Does it make more sense than a smaller form-factor iPad? (For the record, I think it does...) Your comments are welcomed below.