Target keeping iPad under lock and key

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Target stores, which began carrying the iPad on Oct. 3, have setup special displays for the iPad, but are keeping the device and its accessories locked up, according to a new report.

ifoAppleStore visited several of Target's 1,743 stores to investigate their iPad displays. The report noted that the area set aside for the iPad in the electronics section of the store was noticeably empty of customers or salespeople. With no actual iPad on display and the extra step of having to ask a salesperson for help to look at the devices or its accessories, Target's retail strategy for the iPad goes against Apple's core retail values.

The iPod section at Target, which is directly adjacent to the new iPad display, doesn't provide hands-on experience with the devices either, but, unlike the iPad display, it does have a few demo units on display underneath a transparent cover.

By comparison, checks by ifoAppleStore revealed that a nearby Best Buy had live displays of the iPad available for customers. Best Buy was a limited launch partner of the iPad, eventually offering the tablet at all 1,093 of its stores on Sept. 26.

In late September, Target held a press conference to announce that it would begin carrying all six models of the iPad on October 3. At the time, Target anticipated strong holiday sales of the device at its retail stores.

“Target is very excited to offer the revolutionary iPad to our guests nationwide,” said Target senior vice president of merchandising Mark Schindele in a press release. “We are committed to providing our guests with the best products and we think iPad will be at the top of our guests’ holiday shopping lists.”

According to the Associated Press, customers at Target's Cupertino, Calif., store "mostly browsed," asking questions about pricing and 3G service.

"We hope to sell a lot more later this week, once people are more aware that we carry it," electronics team member Chetna Parikh told the AP in an interview.

Target has yet to release sales figures for Sunday's iPad launch.