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Rumor: Apple's new 9.7" iPad will carry premium $599 starting price for 32GB

In a move that will perhaps further emphasize the anticipated "Pro" branding, Apple's new 9.7-inch iPad is rumored to carry a starting price of $599 for 32 gigabytes of capacity, a $100 increase over the traditional new iPad entry point.




Since the first iPad was launched in 2010, Apple has stuck to an entry-level price of $499 for 16 gigabytes of capacity. That's set to change with the new 9.7-inch iPad, according to 9to5mac, which claims the device will start at $599 for 32 gigabytes.

Wi-Fi-only 32-gigabyte models have always cost $599, so the move would not technically be a price increase. But, if true, it does signal that the entry-level 16-gigabyte capacity is on the way out, at least for the latest flagship 9.7-inch model.

Like the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the new iPad is also expected to come in a 128-gigabyte capacity.

Apple would seem unlikely to abandon the $499 price point, which could signal that the iPad Air 2 will remain available at that price. The company also currently sells the 2013 iPad Air for $399 —the same price point as the iPad mini 4.




Rumors have suggested the new 9.7-inch iPad will be branded as an iPad Pro, following the lead set by Apple's jumbo-sized 12.9-inch model that launched last fall. Apple's mid-size iPad Pro is expected to feature many of the capabilities of the larger model, including the magnetic Smart Connector, a four-speaker array, and support for the Apple Pencil.

With Smart Connector support, Apple is also expected to unveil a more compact Smart Keyboard accessory for its new iPad. And in an upgrade over the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, leaked schematics have suggested the rear camera on the 9.7-inch model will feature an LED flash.

All will be revealed on Monday, when Apple is set to host an event to unveil new products. In addition to a new iPad, the event is also expected to mark the debut of a new 4-inch iPhone, rumored to be called the "iPhone SE," featuring an A9 processor and support for Apple Pay.

With many specs rumored to be equivalent to the iPhone 6s series, pricing on the iPhone SE also remains a question heading into Monday's keynote. The new 4-inch iPhone is rumored to take the place of the low-end $449 iPhone 5s, but an A9 processor would make it more powerful than the mid-range iPhone 6 series, which starts at $549.

Apple's "Let us loop you in" presentation kicks off Monday at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern. AppleInsider will be there live and will provide full coverage of the event and hands-on impressions with Apple's latest devices.