Word came last night that the 16GB WiFi iPad would be available in limited quantities at TJ Maxx and Marshalls. At first many of us assumed it would be a refurb. Even still, $399 would be a full $50 less than Apple sells refurbs so it would be an awesome deal. Now it seems that the units coming to the stores are new. New iPads for $100 less than they cost at Apple? or Best Buy? How can that be?
Seth Weintraub over on 9 to 5 Mac Apple Intelligence has an interesting post on why this might be. Among the possibilities he notes that perhaps Apple produced too many and wants to clear out inventory before the iPad 2 comes or, on the other hand, Apple wasn’t to lock up the tablet market before the Android Tablet market truly leaves the station.
I asked Judie what she thought was going on here and she replied, “Who the hell knows why Apple does what Apple does…”
Wise woman she…
If I were a gambling man I would bet that this has more to do with getting the iPad as deeply entrenched as possible as quickly as they can. Or as Judie went on to say, “I doubt this is about excess inventory. I think it is to get as many in people’s hands for the holidays as possible and what better place? “I can buy 5 pairs of jeans for Sally, or get her what she REALLY wants … an iPad.””
It makes perfect sense.
Once someone gets an iPad and buys $10, $50, $100 worth of apps they are going to be far, far less likely to jumpy ship, move to another platform and start buying apps all over again. In other words, who needs carriers locking us into one service or another. The apps will do that just fine without us even knowing that we are signing up for the long-term. Think about it this way. I have hundreds of iPhone/iPad apps that cost a significant amount of money. If I move to Android and want the SAME functionality I have on iOS, then I will need to purchased hundreds of dollars of apps. That means my moving from the iPad to the Tab now includes a hidden surcharge that could be sizable.
The more people who have iPads now, the more Apple secures their core base of customers for the future. After that, no matter how good an Android tablet is people will have to think twice before making the move. Now THAT is definitely worth Apple taking a $100 hit on some iPads now.