updated 05:40 pm EDT, Sun September 12, 2010
iPad seen in Target's inventory system for Oct. 3
Apple may make an aggressive inroad into the Amazon Kindle's territory with an expansion into Target stores if a leak is true. Six versions of a mystery device have appeared in Target's inventory system, all of which line up with Apple's iPad pricing and which would show up October 3. The Engadget source backed up suspicions with photos of a PDA that have the devices going into the Digital Audio section of the store, where both iPods and the Kindle co-exist.
Representatives from Apple and Target weren't available to comment.
It's common for Apple to widen its retail distribution towards the end of the year for a relatively new product, as it often wants to keep sales growing by reaching new outlets at the peak sales period. The choice of Target may be a direct shot across the bow of Amazon, however, as the Kindle reached Target in June and is so far its only major e-reader option. Amazon has lately hedged its bet by offering the Kindle to Best Buy and Staples but was for the most part catching up to iPad sales that have included Best Buy since an April release.
Since competition began in earnest, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos has tried to distance the Kindle and iPad by labeling the Kindle as a dedicated reader and Apple's device as a general purpose device. While mostly accurate and still largely in control of the US e-reader space, Bezos' statement downplays the risk of iPad owners refusing to use anything else for reading after they get their devices. The exclusion removes most iPad owners as possible Kindle buyers and may see the effect magnified by the iPad and Kindle sitting side-by-side in Target stores.