Technology

Apple Inc. (AAPL) Cuts Prices On IPads—Are New Ones Coming Soon?

At least three major retailers have suddenly slashed prices on iPads, and if history means anything, we could see a refreshed model soon and it would be released much earlier than expected.

In February, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) released the 128-gigabyte iPad, but it didn’t have anything new on it except extra storage space.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) Cuts Prices On IPads—Are New Ones Coming Soon?

Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Fortune was the first to point out the price cuts this morning. IPad prices have been slashed at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) and MacMall by about 30 percent. What’s especially interesting about the sudden price cut is the fact that it’s been only about half way through Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s product cycle.

If the price cuts mean we’re about to see a refreshed iPad, then it’s only been 163 days since the introduction of the iPad Mini and the last update to the 10-inch iPad. Previous iPad product cycles have averaged around 311 days.

As Fortune points out, MacRumors’ Buyer’s Guide typically tells buyers interested in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) when it’s a good time to purchase a product from the company. Currently it still recommends that users buy the iPad Mini right now because it has just been updated.

Of course there’s been a lot of speculation lately about what Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been up to, including talk of an iWatch and an iTV to low-cost iPhones. The company is also dealing with investors’ concerns about weak iPhone demand and one Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) executive’s view that 10-inch tablets like the larger iPad have no future.

So we’ll just have to wait and see if Apple does refresh indeed the tablet a full six months early or if it will be releasing something else entirely unpredictable that could be a replacement for the iPad. Or if demand for the iPad is just so weak that retailers need to cut prices in order to get rid of them.