Rumor: Apple to launch cheaper 8GB iPad 2 alongside iPad 3

While we feel like we know just about everything there is to know about the iPad 3, what about the other tablet Apple is launching? That’s right, the rumor mill is suggesting that we’ll see two new tablets out of Cupertino this month.

This particular piece of gossip comes from DigiTimes. And while the publication doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to Apple information, this tidbit actually sounds fairly plausible…

According to the report, which surfaced this morning, Apple will unveil an 8GB iPad 2 alongside a brand new tablet during its iPad 3 event next week.

“As Apple has scheduled an event on March 7, sources from its upstream supply chain pointed out that the company is expected to launch two iPad 3 models – a 16GB version and 32GB version.

In addition to the 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.”

It wouldn’t surprise us to see Apple take this route with the iPad 2, considering it’s exactly what the company did with its iPhone 4 model when the 4S debuted. Plus, we’ve heard a lot of talk of Apple keeping the iPad 2 around this year at a cheaper price point. And this would certainly fall in line with that theory.

Theoretically, Apple could price such a tablet as low as $399 (or even lower), meaning would-be Amazon Kindle Fire customers could upgrade to an iPad (and Apple’s ecosystem) for an extra $150.

Even if the 8GB iPad 2 doesn’t materialize, we expect to see prices drop dramatically on current iPad 2 models. Yeah, next week could get pretty interesting.