Apple’s success is built on streamlined simplicity and focus.

In the tablet market, the iPad is still the undisputed leader. One of the ways that Apple retained that status was this year’s introduction of a lower-priced iPad 2. Though its US$400 price tag is still enough to buy two Kindle Fires, it let Cupertino at least approach budget tablet territory. With next week’s launch of a smaller iPad, though, we may soon bid farewell to the iPad 2.
That’s the theory postulated by Evercore Partners’ analyst Rob Cihra. He shot out a note to investors this week forecasting the iPad 2’s doom. His rationale? Apple’s broader vision calls for a clutter-free product line, so the redundant iPad 2 would get the axe.
We can’t argue with this logic. Apple’s success is built on streamlined simplicity and focus. Selling three different iPads – each with multiple colors and wireless capabilities – could lead to clutter. If the iPad Mini (or iPad Air?) starts at between US$200-300, that’s inching closer to the $400 iPad 2. Carrying two iPads – the big premium one and the smaller cheaper one – may be all Apple needs.
We’d still take Cihra’s prediction with grains of salt, and place the safe money on the iPad 2 hanging around until March. But if you’re itching to get a full-sized iPad for no more than $400, you might want to act now. Should his advice prove sound, the iPad 2 will only have a few more days to live.

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