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Where to Buy an iPad 3 (Hint: Not Apple)

The launch of a new Apple product typically generates Black Friday-esque lines outside stores, and Friday’s new iPad launch is likely to follow suit. Except consumers looking for a good deal may not want to wait outside an Apple store.

Wal-Mart announced Thursday that its 24-hour locations would have a limited supply of the new iPad models for sale at 12:01 a.m., hours before the Apple stores opens at 8 a.m. (Wal-Mart did not immediately respond to a request for comment.) Target, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club and Best Buy are among the stores that will also be selling the hot tablet, and experts say buying there might be consumers’ best bet.

Apple is notorious for rarely offering sales, and that’s unlikely to change with the iPad 3. “You’re not going to see straight discounts,” says Andrew Eisener, director of editorial content for But consumers buying from big retailers do have some creative avenues open to them to pay less than those buying directly from Apple.

These three perks might make you reconsider where you buy:

Loyalty perks

If you have a store credit card or belong to the loyalty program, you might get extra deals. Shoppers with a Target credit card save 5% off all store purchases, which — if pricing remains the same on the new iPad models — works out to a $35 discount on a $699 64GB Wi-Fi only version. (Of course, if you don’t pay off the balance in full, the 22.90% APR will eat away at that deal.) Members of Best Buy’s free loyalty program earn 1 point per dollar spent, and a $5 store reward for every 250 points. That’s nearly $15 in rewards on that $699 tablet.

Portal rewards

Sites like, and others offer extra points or cash back on purchases when you click through to a favorite retailer through their site. Ebates, for example, offers 2% cash back at, 3% at and up to 3.6% at, versus 1% at Such offers usually can be combined with credit card and loyalty rewards, and could shave off up to another $30.

Extended returns

For consumers on the fence about buying an iPad 3, big-box stores tend to be more lenient on returns. Target has a 45-day return policy on e-readers and tablets, more than triple the 14 days Apple allows. Walmart allows 15 days on electronics, a one-day advantage.  But stores aren’t always better on this front, so be sure to compare: Sears, for example, charges a 15% restocking fee on used electronics.

This story has been updated with new sales information.


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Comments (5 of 14)

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    • Target does not offer a 45 day return. If you OPEN the item and it is not defective, then you cannot just walk in and return the ipad. The site now clearly states 30 day returns on tablets UNOPENED. At least apple will take the exchange within 14 days, no question.

    • You can try combining a cashback rebate with discount giftcards.
      Check out for more details. If you combine the two, you can save up to 10% at Best Buy.

    • Something like the price will drop 100.00$ in 6 months would be nice. (makes ya wonder)

    • FYI it’s not called an iPad 3.. Did they hire you guys directly out of high school or did you not graduate? This site is almost as bad as the yahoo tabloids..
      yahoo = smart money < cnn money < cnn < npr < bbc < ??? only ones that i've spent extensive amounts of time on.. anyone chime in please

    • Kelli sorry to have to say this…your articles are consistently next to useless.

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