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Major US carriers sign up to sell Apple iPad

AT&T, Verizon join Walmart, Target and Best Buy

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Apple's dramatic expansion of iPad sales outlets in the US continued today with the announcement both Verizon and AT&T stores will stock the "magical" device.

The news follows the appearance of the tablet - now known to be the fastest selling consumer electronics gadget of all time - at major US retail chains Walmart and Target, and Best Buy's decision last month to begin selling the device at all of of its 1000-odd stores.

The two carriers will begin selling the iPad on 28 October. AT&T will only offer 3G-capable devices, while Verizon will stock both the 3G and the non-3G, Wi-Fi-only iPads, Apple said.

For much of the time since the iPad's arrival back in April, the device's supply has been constrained. Clearly, production has ramped up considerably. Apple's own online store is a good barometer of production volumes, and from waits of days or even weeks, buyers can now order any iPad and get it delivered within 24 hours, in the States and in the UK.

That gives Apple the scope to take big stocking orders from the major chains and network operators, something it needs to do if it's to get the iPad into as many consumers' hands as possible before they are tempted by the tsunami of Android-based tablets that's building up just over the horizon and will flood the market late this year and early next.

With Samsung's pricey Galaxy Tab out on 1 November, perhaps Apple is already feeling the waters rise around its feet. ®

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