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Stores say iPad hype outweighs supply

Spokane’s 2 Best Buys to have limited stock

Some people will be able to walk into the two Spokane Best Buy stores on Saturday and buy an iPad, the new tablet computer developed by Apple Inc.

But they’ll be far outnumbered by the people who won’t find the few dozen available in the Inland Northwest starting Saturday when the iPad goes on sale.

Both stores — on Newport Highway and in Spokane Valley — are the only two retail locations in this area carrying the new iPads, which will cost $499 for the basic model.

Kristin Lake, operations manager at the Spokane Valley store, said her location will have “fewer than a dozen” iPads for sale on Saturday.

Strong Solutions, another Spokane Apple retailer, received no iPads for the product launch, said store supervisor Sean McKenzie.

The Coeur d’Alene Best Buy will also have no iPads because it is not an Apple service center as the two in Spokane are.

Anticipation surrounding the new product stems from Apple’s history of introducing well-designed, compact electronic products, along with the belief the iPad will be embraced by consumers.

In size, it’s in-between an iPhone and a laptop computer.

Apple is providing most of the first units to pre-order buyers, then for sale at, and then to its own retail stores nationwide.

North Spokane Best Buy spokesman Keat Shankle said the store will hand item tickets to would-be buyers before the store opens at 10 a.m. Saturday if a line has formed by opening time.

“If there isn’t, we’ll just let people in and they can start shopping,” he said.

Both Best Buys will limit sales to one per customer, a policy set by Apple. And the stores cannot accept phone orders before Saturday’s opening, another Apple dictate.

Lake and Shankle said they had no doubt the available iPads will be gone from Best Buy shelves in a short while. “We’ve had a lot of calls. There’s a lot of hype about it,” Shankle said.

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