While it was a bit of a surprise that(given Apple's reluctance to let retailers drop prices on its products at launch), it should come as no surprise that its competitors have decided that if they can't beat 'em, join 'em.
Target has officially dropped its price to match the $479 sticker, including online (as shown above, though it's currently unavailable). Best Buy, on the other hand, still lists the new iPad at Apple's original $499 price, but apparently will price match the other deals if you show proof of the discount (which shouldn't be that hard to do). Staples is also offering the iPad Air at $479, including online.
The price drop no doubt eliminates most of whatever margin non-Apple retailers would keep from the iPad sales, but the stores hope that they can make that difference up by selling cases and other accessories and high-margin protection plans (as shown above, Target is offering a $119 service plan).
Despite earlier reports to the contrary, Apple is apparently not price matching these discounts at its stores. There are also no discounts on other iPad Air configurations beyond the 16GB Wi-Fi base model.
Will the $20 discount entice you to buy the new iPad Air at Walmart, Target or other stores instead of through Apple? Let us know in the Talkback section below.
[Via Los Angeles Times]