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iPad Hits Target Stores Next Month

Discount retailer Target will stock Apple's iPad tablet computer starting in early October, according to wire reports.

iPad teardown shot via FCC.
(click for larger image and for full photo gallery)

Target announced the news Friday at a conference with reporters at its Minneapolis headquarters, according to the Associated Press. Target officials did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking confirmation.

The AP's report indicated Target would stock four models of the iPad. All told, Apple produces six versions of the device, including Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G models with 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB storage capacities. Prices range from $499 for the 16GB, Wi-Fi only version, to $829 for the 64GB Wi-Fi+3G edition.

To date, iPad has been available only through specialty electronics retailers like Best Buy, or Apple's own online and brick-and-mortar stores.

By adding general merchandise chains like Target to its list of retailers, Apple may be signaling it wants to position the iPad as a general purpose device that's not just for technologically hip trendsetters. In other words, Apple may be hoping to put an iPad in the hands of every soccer mom and weekend couch potato.

The AP reported that the iPad will go on sale at Target stores starting Oct. 3rd. As of midday Friday, the tablet did not appear on the retailer's Web site for pre-sales. Target already stocks a wide range of iPad accessories, including covers, cases, and how-to books.

Apple introduced the iPad earlier this year. Since then, it's been one of the tech industry's hottest selling products. Indeed, Apple has said it sold three million iPads in the first 80 days the touch-screen tablet computer was on the market.

Apple is positioning the iPad—essentially an oversized iPod touch--as an all-purpose handheld that's optimized for e-reading, viewing videos and images, and gaming.