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Apple to sell iPad at Best Buy and other assisted locations

Apple said Tuesday that sales of its upcoming iPad device will follow a model similar to that of the iPhone during its onset, with availability limited to the company's direct sales channels and select other retail locations that receive Apple assistance.

Tim Cook, Apple's chief operating officer, spoke at the Goldman Sachs annual tech conference in San Francisco Tuesday afternoon. He said the iPad will launch in retail, online education and other direct sales from Apple, but will also include the company's assisted sales from partners like Best Buy.

The announcement suggests AT&T stores could also offer iPad sales, though Cook did not specifically mention Apple's wireless partner in the U.S. Overseas, Apple's premium resellers will also offer the iPad at brick-and-mortar locations.

"Initially it will be around places with really great assisted sales," Cook said. "Over time it will expand."

The Apple executive also revealed that he has personally had an iPad for about six months, and he believes that many consumers will find it hard to purchase a netbook when they experience Apple's new product for the first time.

"The experience is just absolutely incredible," he said. "And so we're obviously very excited about this thing and can't wait to start shipping it."

Cook also said he's not particularly concerned about the prospect of the iPad cannibalizing other Apple products, such as iPod touch or Mac sales.

"It's an incredible value at $499," he said. "It's an amazing experience you can have."