Originally Posted by wizard69
There are several different angles here to this question.
First I'm hoping this indicates a massive increase in production. Just to put five of each SKU into all of Walmarts stores would be a major order. If Apple has trouble into the Christmas season keeping production matched to demand this could be a very bad thing.
The flip side is that Walmart isn't exactly the place to go for state of the art electronics. Will this lift Walmart or Sink Apple?
Walmarts in store marketing isn't exactly inspiring so just how much such a venue could increase sales is an interesting question. Especially considering that Walmarts ability to discount will likely be very limited.
Finally what about support? I know I'm about to use a negative characterization here but many Walmart shoppers could be classified as stupid. How will they get through activation to start. Will Apples support lines be flooded.
Lastly buying electronics from Walmart is generally a rip off. Especially accessories. In theory Walmart is a discounter but generally they engage in the same rip offs the big chain electronics house do. For example grossly over priced cables and accessories.
This will neither lift Walmart or sink Apple. After all, Walmart already sells iPods, including the Touch, and the iPhone. The iPad is not part of the OSX family but rather is the top product in the iOS range.
As for Walmart shoppers being this or that, having worked at Walmart on the floor, I can tell you that there is a wide range of clientele using Walmart just as I'm sure there is a wide range of clientele frequenting all other retailers. Head out to a Walmart parking lot and take a look around. You're liable to see lots of expensive rides, clearly not owned by "trailer trash" for lack of a better term. Besides, do you really think Apple is in the business of selling products only to a very defined segment of the population? Any one who wants to buy an Apple product is welcome. Fact is, Apple's stuff is easier to figure out than anything the competition is offering. I would sooner recommend an Apple for someone who is a tech dummy than a PC.
It is true that it's going to be hit-and-miss regarding the ability of staff at your local Walmart to help get customers set up properly but then again, sadly, you get that when you try buying product from any general-merchandise retailer. What Apple is counting on is that the process of setting up an iPad is pretty much the same as an iPod Touch. Millions of those seem to wind up used correctly regardless of where they are bought so I suppose the same could be expected of the iPad. Consider that you don't have to do anything more complicated than connect the iPad to a computer that has iTunes set up, just like a Touch, and it goes from there.
If there is a concern, it's that the iPad might well be offered up as a full-function computer which, in its early life, it is not. But then again, being as Apple has not allowed the iPad to be separated from the iOS family, you realize the second you get it home that it's part of that eco-system, distinct from the full-function computer line.
I bought a netbook last year and found it to be far more difficult to live with and set up than any of my Apple products. I only bought it as a low-cost storage solution for when I was travelling and in that role it worked well. But I have to say that Apple's products are far more consumer-friendly than anything from the PC side. As such, while there will be complications in not selling exclusively through the Apple retail network, the payoff is far too great for Apple to ignore. Most consumers will be able to work through this, even with less than stellar assistance from staff selling the product if only because so many of them already know how it all works, having done the same thing with their iPods. This is what Apple hopes will allow quick mass-market distribution.