Could Apple be releasing an 8 GB iPad 2 next week? According to a DigiTimes source, Cupertino will be launching a new smaller-capacity iPad 2 at its event March 7 alongside the the new iPad 3. According to the source, Apple will be releasing a 16 GB and 32 GB iPad 3 and an 8 GB iPad in order to compete with more budget priced offerings from other tablet manufacturers.

Apple has previously used a similar strategy with its iPhone line, discontinuing the larger-capacity versions of the previous handsets while still offering or launching a cheaper lower-capacity model.

While Apple has never offered an iPad with anything below 16 GB of storage, doing so isn't that far out of the realm of possibility. With inexpensive competition such as the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet hitting the market, Apple needs to make an effort to hit the less affluent tablet-buying population. What better way to do that than to sell a lower-capacity iPad 2?

Taking into account that the iPad 2 would technically be the "older model," and Apple could conceivably sell the an 8 GB WiFi iPad 2 for $399 or less. A $399 price tag, while still higher than a Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet, would still put Apple in a great position to snag some customers who might have otherwise gone with a less-expensive competitor.

What's also interesting about the DigitTimes rumor is that it implies Apple will only be selling a 16 GB and 32 GB version of the iPad 3, getting rid of the 64 GB version of the tablet. Assuming the rumor is true, Apple may be making that move in order to promote its iCloud service, which allows customers to store and access some content from the cloud.

The iPad 3 is expected to be announced at an Apple event in San Francisco March 7th. The tablet is highly rumored to have a faster processor, high-resolution Retina display, and a higher-resolution camera.

Source: DigiTimes