A new rumor purportedly originating at "sources from related upstream suppliers" claims Apple is preparing the cheapest ever 9.7-inch iPad for next year. As you may know, the company released the iPad 9.7 (2017) back in March, and that model is priced from $329. At launch, it was the cheapest iPad of its size yet.
But in 2018 its successor is allegedly going to start at just $259. If that pans out, the rumored device will undoubtedly start a resurgence of the tablet sector in the mobile world, which hasn't been doing all that well in the past few years. The slate is said to launch in the second quarter, thus sometime between April and June.
The upcoming iPad should allow Apple to maintain its present quarterly tablet shipments of around 10 million units. Key competitors in this space, such as Samsung, Amazon, Huawei, and Lenovo are expected to come up with their own affordable options to compete with the new iPad. Keep in mind that everything you've just read is only a rumor at this point, and an unconfirmed one at that. If this iPad is real, expect to hear much more about it in the coming months.