Segments: Slices from the Macintosh Life
My $1,000 iPad Purchase Odyssey
I’m taking time out to share my iPad purchase story. My experiences in buying this device provide corroborating anecdotal evidence as to why I believe Apple will achieve $20 billion in revenue this quarter and blow away most revenue and earnings per share estimates.
My $1,000 iPad Purchase
At the end of that day, I had made a $1,000 iPad purchase (accoutrements and sales tax included). I spent $1,053.60, to be exact, and $960 before California sales tax was added. The pre-tax amount is a nice even number because Apple doesn’t do the silly 99¢ thing on hardware devices. The purchase odyssey required an 85-mile round-trip trek along the highways and byways of southern California and visits to two extraordinarily busy Apple retail stores on a Sunday afternoon.
I have nothing against Best Buy per se and certainly not when the store is located conveniently in my home city of Santa Clarita. On this Sunday afternoon, the local store had the 64 GB Wi-Fi + 3G iPad in stock. It’s not the model I wanted, and I was determined to purchase the desired iPad accoutrements at the same time. My list of accessories included the external keyboard, AppleCare, an additional power cable, and the Apple iPad case. I also wanted the 32 GB iPad and wasn’t willing to fork over the additional $100 for the 64 GB model. Off to the Apple store in Glendale we went.
Glendale Apple Store
My wife and I arrived in Glendale about 3:30 PM to an absolutely packed store. Every digital device on display had someone tending to it, and every staff member was busy with at least one customer, with another waiting impatiently for her attention. The store also had absolutely no iPads in stock. Being the resourceful person she is, my wife grabbed the first seat that became available by a Mac on display, took out her iPhone, googled store numbers, and started making calls. The Best Buy in Burbank had no iPads in stock, the Best Buy in Santa Clarita still had the 64 GB model available, and the Sherman Oaks store had the 64 GB model in stock—but only if we hurried.
Not to leave the store empty-handed—and just in case the Best Buy in Santa Clarita was the only option remaining by the time we drove to Sherman Oaks—I bought all of the iPad accessories I wanted at the Glendale store. The accessories were easy to find. An available salesperson to handle the sales was the challenge. Finally, we got someone’s attention. While processing the purchases, he recommended we get on the waiting list for an iPad purchase at the store. Estimated wait time was three weeks. I reluctantly signed up as the purchase mode of last resort. We made a beeline for Sherman Oaks. By the time we made the 20-minute drive, I had already received my confirmation e-mail from Apple of my reservation at the store for the 32 GB iPad I wanted. I grumbled all the way to Sherman Oaks; I didn’t want to spend the extra $100 for the 64 GB model, but I had resigned myself to that fate if I wanted the iPad that day.
The Sherman Oaks Apple Store
Similar to the Glendale store, the Sherman Oaks store was packed. Not a single device on display was unattended. We did quickly find a store staff member and explained to him we were told 64 GB iPads were available. As he went to check, I mentioned to him I really wanted the 32 GB model just in case one was available. A few minutes later, he came out from the back of the store with a 32 GB iPad and two small square boxes. He was intent on selling me MobileMe and AppleCare. I told him I had purchased AppleCare for the iPad in Glendale and had been a subscriber to MobileMe from its early days as a free service called iTools. He didn’t want to relent. He said we could get a $30 discount on our MobileMe renewal. I told him my subscription renews in January and I was spending enough that day already. I told him the sales pitch was a good one. If it hadn’t been a hot day in July and hadn’t been so far from my January MobileMe renewal, I might have taken him up on the offer.
To complete the purchase, we had to walk back by the Genius Bar. I took out my iTunes Rewards Visa card. The salesperson was curious about the nondescript black card. I explained that it’s an iTunes card and I was getting 2% back on the purchase in iTunes dollars. He seemed bewildered. I told him that after he swipes the card he’ll have the option of sending me an e-mail receipt and the address is already encoded. I told him I wanted an e-mail receipt and a paper receipt for the bag before I walked out of the store. He smiled and obliged.
I looked around and said to him and my wife, “Just look at this store. It’s as busy as the Glendale store. No wonder Apple will report record revenue in eight days.” Again, the salesperson looked bewildered and asked me if I was a stockbroker. By then, two other salespeople were listening. I told him I wasn’t a stockbroker but I follow Apple, publish revenue and earnings estimates for the company, and believe it is and will remain the most amazing enterprise of our times. He smiled again. I think we both enjoyed the encounter.
We drove home. I cancelled the purchase reservation at the Glendale store and unpacked the iPad. That was seven weeks ago, and when I’m at home I hardly ever put it down. It’s the most immersive Apple device I’ve ever owned.
All told, I spent more than $1,000 at the Apple stores on that Sunday and about 25% of the iPad’s purchase price on accessories and services. That’s not including the $30 I immediately spent from home on the iPad versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. The iPad is a revenue and earnings monster, and these days the Apple retail stores are jammed with foot traffic. I reiterate my early fourth fiscal quarter revenue estimate of $20 billion and my share price forecast of $400 by early May 2011. The law of large numbers be damned.
Also in This Series
- Apple’s Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come · January 2012
- A Hometown Apple Store · September 2011
- Why Time Machine Is a Mac Essential · June 2011
- Wonders Never Cease · May 2011
- Two iPhones and a Rice Bowl · May 2011
- My Work PC Has Become a Fork · April 2011
- The iPad’s Versatility · December 2010
- Why I’m Glad I Purchased the 3G Model · November 2010
- The iPhone as an iPad Companion · November 2010
- Complete Archive