The big fish eats the little fish: Apple prevents resellers from taking iPad preorders

You want to get your hands on an iPad, but don’t live near an Apple store. You head down to your nearest approved reseller thinking, “Well, they sell all the other Apple products, so I’ll be able to pre-order from there.”

You’d be wrong.

Apple has only furnished the Apple stores with the ability to handle pre-ordering of the coveted iPads, both in the UK and Canada.

A spokesperson for Apple claims that “select” resellers will be able to take pre-orders, but it remains to be seen who those might be.

IPad pre-orders began yesterday in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. Given the extreme success of the iPad in the United States, it is difficult to determine whether or not Apple is afraid of running out of the units if resellers are able to take pre-orders, or if they simply want to command the clearly lucrative iPad revenue stream themselves.

It seems that Apple has taken a short-sighted route on this. When I spoke to a source at a local Apple reseller, he was more than happy to launch a tirade against Apple on this issue. Most of what he said was too blue to reprint, however it can be said without a doubt that this decision on Apple’s part has caused a rift between Apple and the resellers.

Additionally, this causes a problem for those consumers who prefer to shop in local stores rather than big boxes or at the local mall. Speaking from a personal point of view, my local reseller is in my neighbourhood and is locally owned and operated, as well as being a stand-alone store. The Apple store is a bus ride away and in a mall. Ethically, I am more likely to spend my money at my local reseller in the hopes that some of my retail dollar will stay in my neighbourhood.

Finally, this encourages questionable behaviour on the part of the retailers: who is to say that a reseller couldn’t or wouldn’t sell me a $600.00 piece of paper that I could then “redeem” for an iPad on May 28th?

Was Apple wrong in this decision? Well, alienating consumers and retailers is never a good idea.