Staples is said to offer only Apple's latest models?--?the iPad Air and Retina display-equipped iPad mini --?in its stores, rather than the entire iPad lineup, though the older versions remain available for purchase online. The change was first reported by CNET.
Bringing the iPad in-store marks another milestone in Framingham, Mass.-based Staples's current alliance with Apple, which began last spring when the company started carrying smaller Apple products like the Apple TV and AirPort wireless networking lineup.
The relationship expanded in December with online iPad sales, and it was speculated at the time that Staples would be allowed to carry the tablets in stores if certain performance targets were met. Wednesday's launch suggests that those targets, which are thought to have included weekly online sales referral quotas for each brick-and-mortar store, were reached.
One item that remains unclear is exactly how the iPad will be marketed in Staples outlets. The tablets are featured on dedicated Apple-designed kiosks in most third-party iPad retailers, and in some cases small "store-within-a-store" arrangements are struck when broader ranges of Apple products are on offer.