Where to Buy an iPad

apple ipad 2
iPad 2. image copyright Apple Inc.

If you're planning to buy an iPad, 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.

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. 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 family is 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 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. 

Service Providers - Many stores that sell smartphones will also sell the iPad, particularly now that you can get a SIM card inside a cellular model.

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 offered the iPad 2 and beyond. Call your local Best Buy to check stock or buy online.

Sam's Club - The buying club arm of Walmart offers all models for in-store purchase only. Find your local Sam's Club.

Target - All models of the iPad are available at Target's nearly 1750 stores. Find your nearest Target. You'll have to; the retailer doesn't sell the iPad online.

Walmart - The world's largest retailer offers all iPad models in stores and online. Be aware, though, it requires you to buy an accessory along with the iPad for an online purchase.