"Expanding distribution to Walmart and Target makes the iPad more accessible to more Americans," says Forrester consumer product strategist Sarah Rotman Epps, and allows them to touch the TouchPad (except in Target, where the device is behind glass). Apple is requiring retailers that feature the iPad in circulars to devote an entire page to the device and be featured in their local TV ads.
The gambit expands distribution from about 300 Apple stores clustered mostly in affluent shopping areas to 8,000 additional outlets geared to mainstream America. Apple has already sold 7.5 million iPads; Forrester projects it will sell at least that many this quarter.
In the New York Times, Brian Stelter writes that the iPad has become a "must-carry accessory" in Hollywood over the past six months -- "visible behind the scenes of television and film shoots and in business meetings." It has also shown up in actual programming more than its fair share of times; an Apple spokeswoman says the company does not pay for product placements. But somehow you knew that, didn't you?