iPad Air Available at Best Buy on Release Day at 8 AM

On Friday, November 1, Apple will release the new iPad Air at their stores, online, through many wireless carriers and at retail partners like Best Buy. We learned that Best Buy plans to open early next Friday and offer the new tablet to customers, much like they’ve done in the past. Here’s what you need to know about buying at Best Buy. We’ll share other stores and outlets as soon as we know more.

We expect that many will want the new iPad Air not only because of the spec bump, but also a lot of iPad 3 owners skipped the iPad 4 last year. It arrived only half a year after Apple released the iPad 3.

best buy ipad air

Get in Line Early at Best Buy for an iPad Air

We talked with some folks at Best Buy this week and they don’t plan to offer pre-orders on the new iPad Air available next week on November 1st. Instead people need to show up at 8:00 a.m. they’ll sell customers iPads first come, first served.

We’ve experienced mixed results buying an iPad on launch day from Best Buy in the past. They usually only offer a limited quantity at first on launch day and during the frenzy of the iPad 2 launch one customer, first in line, didn’t get an iPad due to an error by a sales associate who didn’t follow the store’s plan. That customer didn’t leave happy.

iPad 2 sales slip

Why Buy an iPad Air at Best Buy

Why would anyone choose to purchase an iPad Air at Best Buy instead of going directly to an Apple Store or ordering it online? Despite the above horror story, we’ve experienced good customers service on launch day. Lines typically are shorter.

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Some Best Buy customers take advantage of the My Best Buy program, formerly called Rewards Zone. The program gives customers 1 bonus point for every dollar they spend. After accumulating a 250 points, they get a $5 coupon for in-store purchases. A customer can save some money, if they rack up enough points. Take a look at the chart below to see the key benefits of their program.

best by my rewards comparison

When it comes to buying an iPad, the key benefits include:

  • extended return policy – 15, 30 or 45 days to return products
  • free shipping on items over $25 – a useful way to get accessories that aren’t in stock on launch day
  • bonus points with 1 point per dollar spent – 250 points earns a $5 certificate meaning customers will get at least $10 back on a $500 iPad
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None of these reasons alone makes the Best Buy buying experience better than Apple’s. Some of us live more than an hour or two from an Apple Store. We don’t want to wait, even one day after November 1 to get an iPad shipped, so picking up an iPad from a local store makes more sense. At present only Best Buy offered us any details about purchasing an iPad despite calling or visiting to ask all of Apple’s retail partners. Verizon Wireless will sell the iPad Air on release day, and other carriers will likely follow along.

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