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Wal-Mart has confirmed it will begin selling Apple’s iPad in-store as soon as Oct. 15, with a goal of having the tablet computers in around 2,300 stores by mid-November.
That timing puts the company just in time for the famed shopping rush of Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving).
Right now you can order the 64GB iPad with Wi-Fi, and the 32 and 64GB iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G online at Walmart.com, but buyers have to pick the tablets up in store.
The world’s largest retailer said it would start carrying all six iPad types this Friday, including both Wi-Fi and 3G + Wi-Fi models, at the same prices Apple charges. The company will also have all models available online through Walmart.com, but buyers will still have to pick up their new iPads at local Wal-Mart locations.
The Arkansas-based big box store has traditionally been slow to adopt Apple products; it didn’t begin selling the company’s iPhone until December 2008, despite the phone’s general availability at other outlets for nearly a year prior. Wal-Mart was also sluggish debuting the iPod.
However, it may not have had the option to wait this time around, as pressure from competitors like Best Buy and Target began selling the iPad months ago–and as both Apple and Wal-Mart eye the upcoming holiday shopping rush with an aim for both firm’s bottom lines.
The boon to Apple of having iPads in Wal-Mart stores is clear. Selling any product at Wal-Mart is bound to bring a bounce to its overall sales, as the retailer currently has 8,500 stores in 15 countries operating under 55 different names. After offering the iPhone in December 2008, Apple reported an 88 percent spike in sales of the smartphone over the quarter ending Dec. 27, 2008–a leap that was at least in part attributable to the much wider availability of the phones nationwide.
Apple may see a boost in other areas as well: VentureBeat reported last month that the tech company could sell 21 million units as close to 50 percent of Fortune 100 companies have begun testing the product in-house, predicted an analyst with Wall Street firm Piper Jaffray.
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