Mobile Devices

April 04, 2013

Thirty Percent Off An iPad 3? Try Best Buy.

The words "price cut" and "iPad" don't often show up in the same sentence, so when the pricey dominant tablet manages to go on sale anywhere it's always something of a noteworthy event. But when word emerged yesterday that Best Buy was dropping prices on the iPad 3 by nearly a third--30 percent--that was the kind of thing that caught quite a bit of attention.

The word came from a spokeswoman--Carly Morris, reportedly--for Best Buy, signaling a substantial change in the way the world's largest chain for consumer electronics handles its iPad pricing. This move in turn has led analysts to note that there is, commonly, one major reason that a sudden substantial price drop hits, and that's to clear out old inventory.

It's been seen before that stores make sudden price drops on iOS hardware--iPhones and iPads primarily--whenever there's about to be a new release of one of those items. This not only gets rid of the leftover iPads or iPhones still in stock, but also serves to spark interest in the devices again ahead of the next version's launch. Morris' e-mail to Reuters elaborated that, as of that moment, there were no such discounts available on the iPad mini, but that the newest iPads were taking the price drop.

While the overall launch schedule for new iPad releases has proven somewhat movable, especially over the last few years and in particular around the illness and eventual death of Steve Jobs, it's been emerging that springtime is the right time for new iPads, while later in the year is the right time for new iPhones. While it may not necessarily follow suit, it could indeed be that Best Buy is looking to clear shelf space ahead of a new version.

There are, of course, other possible explanations. Yesterday, for example, was the third birthday of the iPad itself. Offering a special deal on the newest iPad in honor of its anniversary isn't exactly out of line, though why the other breeds of iPad would be left out is unclear. Additionally, it's been a good while since the newest iPad emerged, and it may be that Best Buy, sensing a drop in sales amid a slow economy--at least in its own stores--decided that it would be a good time for a price drop. Potentially such a move might lure the frugal to come and shop for other things, and Best Buy, beset on all sides by competition, needs shoppers.While the exact cause of the big iPad discount at Best Buy is still unknown, there are certainly possibilities enough afoot to intrigue even the most casual observer. A new model may be waiting in the wings, but either way, for those interested in a new iPad there may not be a better time to get one coming any time soon.

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