The Apple iPad is likely to get a wide retail release in coming months, from Apple stores to Best Buy outlets and "select" retail locations. That's the news from Apple chief operating officer Tim Cook, who dished on the forthcoming iPad at a Goldman Sachs-sponsored tech conference in San Francisco. According to Apple Insider, Cook said the iPad launch will be modeled after that of the best-selling iPhone.
"Initially it will be [sold by outlets] with really great assisted sales," Cook said in San Francisco. "Over time it will expand." The iPad will ship in April, which leaves the blogosphere plenty of time to speculate on how Apple will handle the roll-out. Is a pre-launch price-drop in the cards, as we discussed here? And what about the rumors that the iPad is fitted for a camera or web-cam, as we reported here? Will lines stretch around the block at every Apple store in the Western world?
At the very least, Cook's comments seem to suggest that Apple is betting that hundreds of thousands of consumers will make room for a third electronic item in their household – a device bigger than the iPhone and smaller than a MacBook. The company is betting, in other words, that the iPad won't just have niche appeal. Of course, if that's the case, isn't it possible that the iPad would steal – or "cannibalize," in industry parlance – sales of other Apple items?
Cook isn't worried. "It's an incredible value at $499," he said. In other words, Cook is saying that the price is right: the iPad won't damage MacBook sales because it's cheaper than a MacBook, and it won't totally break the bank. (Although 500 beans is more than mere pocket change.)
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