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Low-Cost MacBook Air, HomePod, iPhone and iPad to Launch This Year

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Apple will release lower-priced versions of its various products this year, according to a new report out of the company’s supply chain.

Those lower-priced devices might include an iPhone, an iPad, a new MacBook Air and a smart home speaker akin to HomePod, according to an Economic Daily News report that was first spotted by Japanese news site Mac Otakara.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about these devices, either. Today’s Economic Daily News story lines up with a handful of previous analyst rumors and supply chain reports. Here’s how the rumors break down.

Lower-Cost HomePod

The report, citing industry sources, claims that Apple is exploring a more affordable HomePod device to launch in the second half of 2018.

Mac Otakara calls the device a “smaller-sized” version of Apple’s HomePod speaker and suggests that it might retail for between $150 and $200. Earlier this month, Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang also forecasted a lower-cost HomePod in the exact same price range.

It’s a sensible move for Apple, whose smart speaker retails for quite a bit more than its competitors. But it’s unknown what compromises Apple might have to take to get its speaker tech into a lower-priced device.

Mac Otakara claims that it might be a smaller speaker overall, but its final features or form factor is currently unclear.

Lower-Priced MacBook Air

Just this week, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo forecasted that Apple would unveil a “more affordable” MacBook Air device this year. Prior to that, DigiTimes suggested that the company could release an “entry-level 13-inch” laptop to its MacBook lineup.

Today’s Economic Daily News reports not only backs up those claims, but it adds an estimate for that MacBook Air’s price. While a sub-$1,000 price point was expected, Mac Otakara reports that the entry-level notebook could retail for between $799 and $899.

9.7-inch iPad

The EDN report also corroborates a previous rumor about an ultra-affordable iPad this year. Such a device could retail for as low as $259, according to a DigiTimes report from last December.

Currently, it’s unclear what features the tablet could sport. But it’s worth noting that Apple previously unveiled a lower-cost iPad, to the tune of $329, in 2017.

6.1-inch iPhone

The supply chain report also doubles-down on rumors of Apple’s mid-range 6.1-inch iPhone.

First forecasted by Ming-Chi Kuo last year, the device is expected to retain an LCD display and a metal construction, but is expected to adopt Apple’s Face ID technology. Economic Daily News claims that the device could run in the $649 to $749 range.

It’s worth noting, at this point, that Apple is also rumored to be developing what could be an even cheaper iPhone, specifically a successor to the popular iPhone SE model. Though no pricing rumors exist for that particular device.

Possible Release Dates

The ultra-affordable iPad could be the first among these new devices to launch. Apple unveiled its current $329 9.7-inch iPad by updating its online store in March 2017.

The affordable MacBook Air could be next, as Apple typically unveils new Mac products at its WWDC event — which typically takes place in June.

The 6.1-inch iPhone and the lower-cost HomePod could launch at Apple’s September keynote event, where it announced the current iPhone lineup as well as HomePod.

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