Apple's iPad will retail at Target Stores starting Oct. 3, confirming earlier rumors. In addition to Apple retail stores, the iPad is also available at Best Buy. Apple seeks to hold its tablet-market lead.
Apple's iPad will retail at Target stores starting Oct. 3,
according to the discount retailer. This confirms earlier rumors, and hints
that Apple is exploring ways to hold its lead in the tablet PC market as other
manufacturers begin to introduce competing devices.
suggest Target will offer four variations of the popular tablet
all three WiFi-only and one 3G-capable models. The starting price point will be
$499, presumably for the 16GB, WiFi-only iPad.
Target's official announcement fulfills earlier rumors. In a
Sept. 12 post, tech
mentioned receiving "a list featuring a mysteriously unnamed
product that's set to become available Oct. 3 (in six different versions,
no less)" along with a screenshot-from a Target inventory-tracking PDA-showing
item numbers that correspond with iPad prices. The then-unnamed products were
headed for the stores' Digital Audio section.
The question now is whether Target will expand its offerings
to include the iPad's other two 3G-enabled models. Electronics retailer Best
Buy carries all six iPad models, as do Apple's retail stores.
Best Buy plans to promote the iPad heavily during the
holiday shopping season and expand distribution of the device to all its 1,093
stores in the United States. "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."
For retailers, carrying the iPad represents an opportunity
to muscle into a burgeoning market segment. A recent note from UBS Investment
Research predicted sales of 28 million iPads in 2011, perhaps affecting the
market for low-end notebooks.
"Sales of traditional notebooks appear to be feeling
pressure from the iPad, causing a scramble by vendors to launch iPad-like
tablets," analyst Maynard Um wrote in that note. "We believe that a majority of
the impact is occurring on the lower end of PC sales as the iPad is priced
close enough to this range that it becomes attractive to consumers looking to
make purchases within this segment."
In addition, wrote Um: "Consumers who purchase iPads may be
more willing to delay purchases and upgrades of existing PCs." He did not,
however, resort to saying that the iPad will cannibalize the notebook market.
Other analysts have been more adamant in their belief that
tablets aren't cannibalizing the notebook market.
"No one expected netbook sales to stay at the atmospheric
levels of 2009 and in fact netbooks, as a percentage of U.S. consumer sales,
have been very steady all year in the mid-teens," Stephen Baker, an analyst
with NPD Group, wrote
in a Sept. 20 posting on the research firm's official blog
. "In light of
the sales facts it is, in my view, a mistaken and absolutely untenable position
to claim that PC sales are under pressure because of the iPad where there are
so many other factors that are contributing to the poor results."
Given the iPad's success, other manufacturers now have their
designs on the market segment. Samsung is prepping to launch its Galaxy Tab on
four different U.S. carriers, and Hewlett-Packard is reportedly working on
tablets that run both its recently acquired Palm webOS
and Windows 7. Research In Motion is widely expected to introduce a
BlackBerry-themed tablet, possibly named the BlackPad, that will target