iPad pricing seen plummeting to $299

The future painted by DigiTimes this morning certainly sounds nice: iPads selling for as little as $299, and a next-generation model with a high-density display starting at just $399—a hundred bucks less than what the iPad 2 costs today.

Well, there's no harm in a little wishful thinking.

The site claims there's sound reasoning behind those expectations, though. It quotes "sources from Apple's supply chain" who foretell two third-generation iPads: one with a 2048x1536 display and another with the same 1024x768 panel as the iPad 2. If the iPad 2 is meant to stay on the market alongside the new devices, DigiTimes says, Apple could find itself compelled to change its pricing strategy. The company might charge $299 for the iPad 2 and price the two next-generation models at $349 and $399 (for the Wi-Fi only variants, at least). Doing so would allow it to go after ultra-cheap Android offerings like the Kindle Fire.

Considering the very same website reported on a drop in iPad 2 orders in the supply chain last week, it's hard to know whether the iPad 2 will be reborn as a bargain-basement tablet... or quickly and quietly discontinued. Who knows, though? Apple's strategy of offering new and old devices concurrently at different prices has worked with the iPhone, and in the tablet arena, it could be the company's ticket to an even more massive market share.

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