Update: Staples has matched Walmart's price online. Additionally, Best Buy and Apple are rumored to be price matching the offer in-store, according to 9to5Mac. If that's the case, then American Express cardholders might be able to pair the purchase with this Best Buy statement credit for an even better deal.
Behind the Deal: Walmart Becomes King of Initial Apple Discounts
It's interesting to note that same-day discounts on just-released Apple products used to occur once in a blue moon, but lately, Walmart has committed itself to busting that tradition by selling highly sought-after Apple products with an immediate discount. Last year, the store offered a price cut on the iPhone 5 before it was released, and in September of 2013, Walmart again discounted preorders of the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S. The store is at it again today by slashing $20 off the 16GB model of the new iPad Air WiFi.
Traditionally, we've recommended shoppers buy from authorized resellers, rather than direct from Apple, the latter of which never gives discounts on its new devices. But now Walmart's tactics are separating it from the pack, as it's trying to position itself as the first retailer to offer discounts on new Apple products. For consumers, this means the question is no longer when to buy an Apple product, but where to buy it. Given its growing reputation, Walmart has become a crucial "must-check" for initial deals on just-released Apple devices.
Walmart's move should also make standing in line at the Apple Store a thing of the past, as Apple itself is selling the iPad Air for the full $499 price today. And with Walmart's free shipping and/or in-store pickup, there's just no reason to swing by the Apple Store anymore.