Apple 'will unveil 8GB iPad 2 as well as iPad 3 next week'

Budget iPad 2 model to hit market ahead of low-price Windows 8 tablets

Reports from Apple's supply chain suggest that the company will introduce an 8GB iPad 2 next Wednesday as well as a third-generation iPad.

Apple sent out official invites to a press event in San Francisco that will take place on Wednesday 7 March earlier this week.

The possibility that Apple might launch something else other than the iPad 3 has been considered, with some suggesting that a new Apple TV or even a smart TV set could be announced on the day.

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However, Digitimes is reporting that Apple will launch not just two different versions of the iPad 3 - 16GB and 32GB models - but an 8GB iPad 2 as well, citing anonymous sources.

Currently, you can buy an iPad 2 with either 16GB, 32GB or 64GB capacities, so as well as seemingly dropping the 64GB model in the third generation, Apple is going to create a new, low-price low-capacity option, if the report is correct.

This is to fend off the expected glut of tablet PCs running Windows 8 that are expected to hit the market this summer when Microsoft officially launches the next version of its OS. Microsoft opened up the Developer Preview of Windows 8 this week.

As for dropping the 64GB model, this could be due to a relative lack of sales compared to the lower-capacity models, concerns over the price or perhaps even an indicator that there will be external storage options - if the report is correct, that is.

The Digitimes report also states that Apple has "high hopes" for the iPad 3 and has doubled its original order for units of the new device from its Chinese-based suppliers.

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