How long is it usually between when Apple releases a refreshed product and when authorized retailers like Best Buy and Target get the updates?

I feel like when the last iPod refresh happened it took about a month before Target got the new ones. I ask because my wife is a Target employee and I'm debating how much I want to wait to get the new iPad vs saving 15%.

UPDATE 3/4/11

My wife talked to the analyst, and she said Apple doesn't work with vendors before a release, and it's up to the specific vendor to scramble for orders once the product is announce. Bestbuy and Walmart will be getting it on the first day.

  • Target also will get the iPad on the same day of Walmart i.e. March 11
    – garikapati
    Mar 4, 2011 at 18:32

2 Answers 2


Authorized retailers can order the new units from Apple more or less at the same time the Apple Stores get the new stuff. But while Apple Stores get the new stuff out on the sales floor at launch, the other retailers, for whom Apple gear is a small part of their business, may take longer to get the new stuff shipped from Apple, into their inventory systems, go through their internal distribution, and get it on their floors.


Some food for thought: I have been purchasing and using Apple hardware since 1994. I always like to wait for the 2nd (or sometimes 3rd) release of hardware products so that I avoid any design and/or manufacturing issues that they discover and fix in the first few months. I know it's mostly arbitrary and that there can be flaws and defects at any point, but in my experience, there tend to be more at the beginning of a product's life cycle than towards the middle and end. And yes, the iPad is not new, but the new iPad that Apple is minutes from announcing (hopefully) should be considered a new product since it mostly likely has some redesigned and/or new hardware elements.

Summary: I wait 6-9 months before I consider buying the new hot product from Apple (anywhere, really) to make sure they have time to fix the initial problems.

Like I said, food for thought. Good luck with your buying decision :)

  • My take on Sorens' comment above is that the iOS products (iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch) are now all clearly on a 12 month revision cycle. So waiting 6-8 months for the problems to shake out (and I'd argue that there haven't been significant problems, on, say, the iPad) means that you're letting most of the product lifecycle go by. My strategy (got my first Mac in 1984) is to instead buy stuff when it's announced. If they offer three different levels of the product (Good, Better, Best) I tend to buy the Better level.
    – Negrino
    Mar 3, 2011 at 0:07
  • Thanks Negrino, I usually try to follow the same idea myself.
    – Jason More
    Mar 4, 2011 at 14:00

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