UPDATE: Are we reading too much into the '$100 off iPads at TJ Maxx' story?

UPDATE: Are we reading too much into the '$100 off iPads at TJ Maxx' story?

Summary: A tipster let the guys at Engadget know that a TJ Maxx store in Vernon, NY was selling 16GB WiFi iPads for $399, a $100 under the list price.

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TOPICS: Apple, iPad, Mobility
17

[UPDATE 22/11: Told you it was a publicity stunt!]

A tipster let the guys at Engadget know that a TJ Maxx store in Vernon, NY was selling 16GB WiFi iPads for $399, a $100 under the list price.

Within moments there was a torrent of speculation that this was a sign that the shine had worn off the iPad and that demand was falling, or that Apple was preparing for a price drop. Others claim that it's Apple's plan to hasten world domination by flogging cheap iPads over the holidays.

Sheesh. Time for a new tinfoil hat guys.

Think about it. What's more likely - that Apple is coordinating with a few TJ Maxx stores to roll out a price drop/stimulate demand/hasten world domination* (delete depending on your opinion), or that an outlet is doing something that seems crazy to the rest of use to attract attention at a time when everyone is doing crazy stuff to attract attention? My bet is that this is nothing more going on here than a PR stunt to get people thinking about, and then into, TJ Maxx stores. After all, you only need a handful of iPads to make this trick work. Even taking a $100 dive on each iPad sold isn't really that big a deal if it's been factored in to a marketing budget and there isn't an unlimited stock.

And I think as a PR stunt it's worked a treat. Don't you?

Topics: Apple, iPad, Mobility

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17 comments
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  • This does bear some investigation. Traditionally

    Apple has been VERY strict about resellers sticking to their MSRP, yanking their resellers license if they don't. Is this a sign Apple is loosening up or that some TJ Maxx store manager didn't read the merchandising agreement with Apple?
    frgough
    • Or they agreed to sell it for 100.00 less because

      TJMaxx realized it wasn't a hot a seller as it was in the past.

      Apple wouldn't allow this if they thought it would sell for 499
      Ron Bergundy
  • I don't see it

    Why would TJ Maxx, which is a department store selling mostly clothing, use an iPad price drop as a promotional "stunt"? Would people looking for a cheap iPad buy a new suit instead/also? Unless they have unlimited stock, they are more likely to pi$$ a few people off when they run out.
    Economister
    • RE: Are we reading too much into the '$100 off iPads at TJ Maxx' story?

      @Economister
      Have you been in a TJ Maxx recently?
      I shop/browse there frequently. Both close to me are less than 50% clothing and sell everything including dining/display/furniture.....
      rhonin
      • I haven't been into one...

        @zenwalker

        Because I always thought of TJ Maxx as a clothing store as well. And now... Hey this marketing stuff works! Sell a few iPads at a discount and all of a sudden you got a ton of free press. I'm with Adrian here, it's a PR stunt and it's working beautifully.
        oncall
  • RE: Are we reading too much into the '$100 off iPads at TJ Maxx' story?

    Its going to be a very interesting next 12 months for slates - both iOS and android. (and whatever windows based device joins the party)

    I remain to be convinced that they will ever be more than a niche product........
    RonanSail
    • I used to think that as well

      @RonanSail

      But after using an iPad for 2 months or so, I am finding it my primary computing device for casual use. For programming? No. For tracing documents? No. But for casual use? Almost all of the time. Since most people are not tracing documents, programming and other demanding tasks on their home computers, I suspect the small mobile market will be huge.
      Bruizer
      • RE: Are we reading too much into the '$100 off iPads at TJ Maxx' story?

        @Bruizer

        Agreed. I keep my iPad around when I'm just hanging out, watching TV or perhaps playing a game on the family Wii with my son. Need to look something up quick? The iPad is instant on and does the job. I use it as a remote control for my media PC - it's easier than a keyboard and mouse to pick a new movie to watch or cue up some music. For commuting, it's great - read a book, watch a movie, do a New York Times crossword puzzle. Than it serves as a photo frame on my desk at work.
        jjh1102us
    • Yeah, it's a niche

      So far, a $24B/year revenue niche, with better margins than desktop PCs. Best to stay out of such low-unit unprofitable business and go with something like the HP Slate, which apparently managed to sell thousands of units: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20022801-1.html
      symbolset
  • RE: Are we reading too much into the '$100 off iPads at TJ Maxx' story?

    And only the Apple fanboys went to TJ Maxx searching for one. The rest of the world carried on about its normal business. Yes people are reading way too much into this. A store has a sale, OMG OMG OMG! Get used to it, its the holidays.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Are we reading too much into the '$100 off iPads at TJ Maxx' story?

      @Loverock Davidson Kind of like Microsoft Phone fanboys screaming about the success of the Windows 7 phone? Why less than two weeks after launch is the news all but silent about it? No headlines about the smashing success of it? I don't see ZDNet posting anything relevant about sales figures, demand, etc...

      As usual, the Microsoft fanboys are in denial of the massive failure of Windows phone 7 and turn their attention at the success of Apple in the mobile market.

      Jealous much?
      cyberslammer2
  • RE: Are we reading too much into the '$100 off iPads at TJ Maxx' story?

    My guess is most people went for the higher end models leaving Apple with a plethora of their lowest end iPad's. This would explain why there might be a surplus of this particular model and why Apple is making moves to lower the inventory of said model. I also assume a refresh of the iPad will be announced in January, which would also be an incentive to get all model inventories on par prior to announcing new models.
    gtdworak
  • I Think It's Pure Genius On Apple's Part

    Everyone knows that the mobile market and technology is moving at a rapid pace, the iPad is nearly a year into its lifecycle and Apple has sold more of the high-end models than they had inventory for, so now they have a lot of the lower-end models to get rid of.....

    We're 3 months away from the announcement of the iPad 2.0, Apple wants to clean out its inventory and make way for the next iteration....this is the way to do it..market it to retailers at a lower price, get users who were hesitant to buy due to the high cost to adopt it, then turn around once the coffers are empty and bring in the new iteration.

    Also with iOS 4.2 coming (and YES, it is coming this month...4.2.1 was dropped the other day to developers for testing) exposing others who were waiting for multi tasking to iPad is going to move more of these devices off the shelf.
    cyberslammer2
  • RE: Are we reading too much into the '$100 off iPads at TJ Maxx' story?

    Why think Apple have anything to do with this? TJX could have bought them anywhere at retail and resell, even at a loss, if they so choose (as a publicity stunt). Whoever said 'unlimited quantities,' that's risible too. They wouldnt be subject to any stocking or MSRP restriction. First-sale doctrine, anyone?
    VaughnSC
  • RE: Are we reading too much into the '$100 off iPads at TJ Maxx' story?

    TJ probably got a five finger discount, and is passing along the savings. What are the odds that TJ is an authorized reseller?
    Steve Webb
  • Agreed. Just a stunt.

    And Jobs will have a fit. You don't throw his gear in the discount bin.
    symbolset
  • Way too much read into this for sure...

    So a store decides to run a loss leader on a few thousand of among the year's hottest products. So what? To the best of my knowledge TJ Maxx is not an authorized Apple retailer so while I do believe this will raise eyebrows and maybe even generate some phone calls from Cupertino, it is unlikely they can peg the chain for any wrong-doing. No different than any individual choosing to resell a sealed iPad at a loss on Ebay after having buyer's remorse etc.<br><br>If anything, this is a BRILLIANT PR move on TJ's part. It's evident based on the Engadget source that region availability is selective thus far, so it's not like every single store has these. Considering the cost of traditional marketing methods for a chain of this size, the loss from retail (assuming this wasn't some back-channel deal with a Best Buy or other major retailer resulting in an even LOWER cost) on a few thousand units pales in comparison. For that "investment" they gained potential traffic from demographics who probably haven't ever uttered the store's name in their life, INSTANT blogosphere buzz that surely spread like a wildfire, and even MORE reason for their traditional clientele to rush in during the holiday shopping season.<br><br>Well played, T.J. Maxx.
    Playdrv4me