Apple's iPad will be available in Wal-Mart stores starting Oct. 15. That means another sales channel for the iPad as it faces competition from upcoming devices.
Apple's iPad will be available in Wal-Mart stores starting Oct. 15,
giving the company yet another sales channel for the popular tablet
PC, which faces the prospect of increased competition by the end of the year.
Wal-Mart apparently plans on selling the iPad "for the same price as
other retailers," according to
Target already offers four variations of the iPad, including all three
WiFi-only and one 3G-capable model. Best Buy carries all six iPad models, as do
Apple's retail stores. Analyst firms such as UBS
Investment Research have predicted tens of millions of iPads sold in 2011,
providing a strong incentive for retailers to carry the device.
"People are willing to disproportionally spend for these devices
because they are becoming so important to their lives," Brian Dunn, CEO
of Best Buy, is
quoted as saying in a Sept. 14 Wall Street Journal interview
. "We are
really positioning the company to be the place where people can come and see
the best of the connected world."
Wal-Mart will likely follow in Best Buy's footsteps and heavily promote the
iPad during the holiday shopping season.
Sales of Apple iPads are outpacing those of both iPhones and DVD
players, according to one recent analyst note, putting them on track to become
the country's fourth-largest consumer electronics category. "The iPad did
not seem destined to be a runaway product success straight out of the box,"
Bernstein Research analyst Colin McGranahan wrote, according to CNBC
. "By any
account, the iPad is a runaway success of unprecedented proportion."
McGranahan estimated the iPad's current sales rate at 4.5 million units per
quarter, and 2011 revenues for the device at around $9 billion.
But will the iPad maintain that projected momentum in the face of
competition? The Android-running Samsung Galaxy Tab is scheduled to debut in
fall 2010 on four carriers, and both Hewlett-Packard and Research In Motion are
prepping tablet PCs for release over the next few months. In addition,
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has repeatedly
emphasized how entering the tablet market is a priority for his company, which
will push its manufacturing partners to produce Windows-equipped tablets.
Rumors have circulated that Apple is preparing a second-generation version
of the iPad for release in early 2011, with new features such as front- and
rear-facing cameras for video conferencing. However, Apple is remaining
characteristically tight-lipped about its future plans.