Apple iPad looks like a holiday hit

Best Buys says consumer tablets, particularly Apple's iPad, will be a top choice among gift-givers this year.

Consumer tablets, particularly Apple's iPad, will be a favorite among gift-givers this holiday season. That's according to Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn, who announced today that the consumer electronics giant is expanding iPad sales to all of its U.S. stores starting 26 September.

In a conference call with reporters, Dunn said Best Buy would capitalize on the tablet craze by offering the iPad in 1,093 U.S. stores, up from 673. And based on his comments, it appears Dunn might have sipped some of Apple's magical and revolutionary holiday cheer.

"We see the iPad as the magnificent shining light in what will become a whole new category, and that is tablets," said Dunn, according to Bloomberg. "In many cases, it's an incremental device. In some cases, it's a substitute device for netbooks. We think that's going to stimulate a lot of customer interest."

Dunn's giddiness (see: shining light, magnificent) is understandable, I suppose, considering the iPad's stunning success so far. Apple sold 3.27 million tablets in its fiscal third quarter--which also happened to be the first full quarter of iPad sales. Not too shabby.

And Dunn's right that the iPad is a suitable replacement for the netbook, which many people use primarily for email and Web browsing. In fact, upcoming consumer tablets from Samsung, Motorola, Toshiba, HP, and many others will likely take a bite out of netbook sales too. (If you've ever spent more than an hour enduring the average netbook's cramped keyboard, you'll understand why.)

Best Buy won't have a holiday monopoly on the iPad, though. Brick-and-mortar competitor Target will begin selling Apple's slate on 3 October, according to Engadget. And of course there's always the Apple Store.

Shoppers may not want to rush out and buy today's iPad, however. Recent rumors suggest that Apple is readying a new model with a front-facing and rear camera.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

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Jeff Bertolucci

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