25 February 20169to5Mac:
Apple will further differentiate the next-generation 9.7-inch iPad from its predecessor by making it part of the new iPad Pro line, according to sources. Much like the MacBook Pro comes in 13-inch and 15-inch sizes, the iPad Pro will soon come in 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch variations. This trend follows Apple not calling its 12-inch MacBook a new Air despite developing the product as an apparent successor to the MacBook Air.
I think 16 GB is finally dead, so I’m guessing the new 9.7 inch Pro will start at 32 GB. The price of the 32 GB iPad Pro is $799. The price of the 64 GB iPad Air 2 is $599; Apple has never offered a 32 GB variant for the iPad Air 2. There’s a convenient gap in the price tiers for the new 32 GB Pro to fill: the $699 price point. You could argue the new Pro should start at $599 for 32 GB but the overlap of pricing is messy, in my opinion.
The ramifications of this are interesting; the new 9.7 inch tablet will be more expensive than the previous generation. It will raise the ticket price by $100 compared against the mid-range iPad Air 2. The price increases stretches to $200, if you consider that the entry-level models of new versus are priced at $499 and $699 (assuming a 16 GB 9.7 inch Pro is not sold). I see no reason for the iPad Air 2 price to fall; that model continues to sell well and keeping it steady should raise overall iPad ASP.