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iPad Air at Best Buy: Buying Experience and Availability

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Almost every year I trek down to my local Best Buy store in Hickory, NC to buy an iPad. I skipped the iPad 4 and ordered the first iPad online, but I picked up the iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad mini and now iPad Air all at Best Buy.

While many people don’t like shopping at Best Buy, I’ve had good experiences buying iPads there for a few reasons. First, the store’s about 20-30 minutes from my home in rural Western North Carolina. The nearest Apple store in north Charlotte takes over an hour to get to. Second, because Best Buy’s the closest tech store, I shop there a lot. I know some of the guys who work there and even like talking with them as I wait for the doors to open. Third, the one time I tried to get an Apple product at an Apple Store took me two hours of waiting and I walked away without the iPhone 4 I tried to buy. Finally, as a Best Buy Rewards customer, I get discounts after spending a certain amount of money and perks like extended time to return products, up to 60 days for some Rewards customers. I saved up my points and cashed them in for a $20 certificate this time. The iPad Air will earn some more discounts, which I’ll use for future purchases.

If you want to know if your local Best Buy has the iPad Air in stock, go here and enter your zip code to get near real time stock at Best Buy stores.

The store looked lit up as store staff prepared for us to arrive to buy my iPad Air at Best Buy. One service rep stood outside at 7:45 a.m. with a stack of certificates. Two other customers already there got out of their cars when they saw me arrive. The rush was on. By the time the store opened, just six to eight people held certificates. It’s nearly noon now and I’m guessing I could head back over and get another one if I wanted.

best buy on apple ipad air launch morning

The man with the certificates rifled through his stack to find a 64GB AT&T in Slate Gray and didn’t find one. I changed my mind on the spot and grabbed a 128GB Wi-Fi only model instead.

certificate for apple ipad air at best buy

We walked through the doors at 8:00 a.m. sharp and got in another line inside. They wrote my name on another certificate and passed me off to a nice sales person. She asked what I wanted to get and I felt like telling her to just read the paper. Instead I held back my snarky comments and told her what I wanted. She told me about all the great accessories and apologized that they didn’t have any screen protectors in stock. We grabbed the light blue Apple iPad Air Smart Cover and checked out using my $20 certificate.

apple ipad air smart cover

The entire process took me 10 minutes. Our editor, Josh Smith, experienced something a little different. It took him 25 minutes and he had to wait longer than I did. He also couldn’t get an iPad Air with LTE. They put more pressure on him to buy accessories and he didn’t think they organized this launch very well.

my apple ipad air outside best buy

This counts as another good Best Buy iPad buying experience. Later this month, I’ll likely get in line to buy an iPad mini with Retina Display.

Kevin loves notebooks, tablets, gadgets and photography. He grew up with computers starting out on a Vic 20 and Commodore 64. The first computer he owned himself was an 8086 Compaq Deskpro. His foray into tablet computing began when he bought a Samsung Q1 Ultra. The smartphone market opened up for him with his Palm Treo 600.

3 Comments

  1. Eric Overlie

    11/01/2013 at 11:15 am

    Went to the Best Buy in Casper WY. Stood there by the iPad display for 5 minutes within 5 feet of an employee trying to sell a lady in her 50′s the iPad 4. I finally interrupted him and asked him whu he’s trying to sell her an ipad 4 when the iPad air was the same price. His response,”they’re locked up in the back, they are $800 machines.” They had limited availability ; no 64gb or 128gb, 32g in one color, 16gb in both colors. Going to apple.com.

  2. [email protected]

    11/01/2013 at 11:23 am

    The local Best Buy in Roseville, CA sent out emails offering an early opening today to sell the new iPads, only there were none to be had but the lower priced ones. Seriously? Why waste people’s time when you do not have the stock. I was there as soon as they opened and they never had them to begin with.

  3. Tony

    11/18/2013 at 2:45 pm

    Screen protectors like the sapphire ones are a must….ZAGG, Stealth Lite, Rhino and 3M screen protectors are awesome. If you can’t get your hands on one, get a GEARMAXX screen protector. They sell on ebay for cheap and are as high quality and durable!

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