If you're planning to buy an iPad or iPad 2, your first thought may be to head to your local Apple Store, or to Apple's website, to make your purchase. But did you know there are many other stores that also sell the iPad? Knowing this can be important if one store is out of stock, or if one company is offering a promotion or discount on the iPad. The stores listed below sell the iPad.
A Note on Discounts and Sales
With other products, comparison shopping among a few stores can often lead you to save money or get some additional products or services along with your purchase. That's generally not true with the iPad. Apple tightly controls the prices of its products, including what other stores can sell them for, so it's rare to see different prices at different stores on Apple products. From time to time you might see small sales, or offers that give you additional products, but don't expect to save more than 10% (if that; that would be a big sale on an Apple product).
Where to Buy the iPad
Amazon - You expect to be able to buy just about anything you want on the web's biggest retailer and, of course, the iPad and iPad 2 are included. Check out the Amazon Marketplace, where third parties and individuals sell new and used models, to snag good deals. Always be sure to buy from highly rated sellers.
Apple – Big surprise there, right? You can buy the iPad 2 from its maker, through the retail Apple Stores and online. Don't expect any major savings here, unless you buy refurbished (which I often recommend).
Apple Specialists - These are independent stores that specialize in Apple and Apple-compatible products. These businesses don't exist in all areas, but you can often find them in larger cities or college towns. Not all Apple Specialist stores carry the iPad, but most do. Compare prices on the iPad 2 at various stores.
AT&T - Ma Bell offers the iPad 2 models that come with always-on 3G Internet connections. Needless to say, AT&T also sells data plans--$15 or $25/month--for them. You can buy at AT&T retail stores or online.
Best Buy – While about two-thirds of U.S. Best Buy stores sold the original iPad at its launch, all of the chain's nearly 1,100 stores now offer the iPad 2. Call your local Best Buy to check stock or buy online.
Sam's Club - The buying-club arm of Walmart offers all iPad 2 models for in-store purchase only. Find your local Sam's Club.
Walmart - The world's largest retailer offers all 6 iPad 2 models in stores and online. Be aware, though, it requires you to buy an accessory along with the iPad for an online purchase. Find your closest Walmart.