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Refreshed 9.7-inch iPad could gain Apple Pencil, says analyst

The new low-cost iPad may support Apple Pencil, a usually reliable analyst predicts, adding that 2018 Apple Pencil shipments will be between 9-10 million units.

Apple's new low-cost 9.7-inch iPad rumored to launch this week could include support for the Apple Pencil, according to usually reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

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Cheaper iPad could support Apple Pencil, a rumor says. (File photo)

Kuo wrote in a note to investors (via MacRumors) that Apple will see a rise in Apple Pencil shipments in 2018 to 9-10 million units "given that the new low-cost iPad may support Apple Pencil."

Kuo told investors:

Strong demand for low-price 9.7-inch iPad in 2017. iPad shipments hit 43.8mn units in 2017, well above the 35mn units forecast by the market at the beginning of the year. The primary driver was the low-price 9.7-inch model, whose selling points are competitive pricing and a significantly larger panel than those of six- to seven-inch smartphones (iPad mini was a flop because it was replaced by large-screen smartphones). In a bid to strengthen its selling points and to differentiate it more from low-price Android tablets, the new low-price 9.7-inch iPad (starting mass production in 2Q18) will likely support Apple Pencil.

Like with every rumor, we advise a healthy dose of skepticism until Tim Cook and Co. take the stage later this week.

The Apple Pencil rumor makes sense, as it could give Apple an opportunity to differentiate itself against Android tablets in the cheaper/education market. It's not clear if Apple would launch Pencil support on its $329 iPad model, or an even cheaper model aimed at the education market.

Apple plans to introduce a lineup of low-cost iPads at its event on Tuesday, March 27, earlier reported Bloomberg's ace Mark Gurman:

In Chicago, the world's most-valuable technology company plans to show off a new version of its cheapest iPad that should appeal to the education market, said people familiar with the matter. The company will also showcase new software for the classroom, said the people...

In case you missed it, here's a round up everything you need to know about Apple's latest event.

Update: Japan-based Apple blog Mac Otakara reports Apple's sixth-generation iPad will launch sometime in the third quarter of 2018, citing its own sources. Again, this is just a rumor.