Wal-Mart Preparing to Offer iPad [Updated x2]

Back in May, Wal-Mart announced that it was expecting to begin offering the iPad for sale in its U.S. retail stores "later this year", and with the holiday shopping season rapidly approaching and rival Target launching the device in over 1700 stores around the United States just this past weekend, speculation has centered around when Wal-Mart might follow suit.

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In a potential answer to that speculation, we've received word that Wal-Mart sent an email to its store managers today outlining the iPad models and related accessories that should be making their way to store shelves in the near future. According to this partial photo of the alleged email sent to us, Wal-Mart plans to offer all six models of the iPad, with initial stock of just five units per model for this location. In addition, a number of standard accessories, as well as AppleCare, will be also be offered.

Wal-Mart currently offers over 2,800 "Supercenter" stores around the U.S. along with an additional 750 somewhat-smaller discount stores, presenting a significant opportunity for Apple to expand the iPad's distribution network should the device be carried in all of the chain's stores.

Update: We've received another photo of a portion of the notice, which reveals that Wal-Mart will be rolling out iPad availability beginning next week to 1,000 stores by the end of October, with more stores being added in early November. We've been told that Wal-Mart's plans call for a total of 800 stores to be added in November.

Store displays will include a live demo unit inside a case that will include a looping video presentation of the device's features.

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Update 2: And we've now received a photo of the iPad already on the shelves at a Wal-Mart in Denver, Colorado:

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