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iTMS Prepaid Cards Available At Target [Updated]

iTMS Prepaid Cards Available At Target [Updated]

by , 6:30 PM EST, February 18th, 2004

[Update: TMO staff stopped by a local Target store to check out the new cards, and found an endcap display with brochures for iPod and iPod mini, the $15 iTMS cards, and a nice selection of iPod accessories. (No iTunes branded CD-Rs, though.) We also found that there were no iPods or iPod minis on display yet.

The Target salesclerk told us that the display went up at the start of the week, and that he hadn't "looked" at the iPod yet.

Another salesclerk told us that, according to an internal letter, Target will not sell the iPod mini until April 1, 2004. However, the larger iPods will still be available. We have not been able to confirm this. - Vern Seward]

Apple can be downright sneaky at times; the company will offer up something that is so potentially cool, and then hardly make any mention of it. For instance, when is the last time you saw a Mac OS X commercial on TV?

(Hint: You haven't.)

Another case and point: Did you know you can buy iTunes prepaid cards at your local Target?

It's true! The same music cards you can buy directly from Apple is now available from Target. The retailing giant is stocking cards at a US$15 value, enough to buy 15 songs, or most albums, with change in your account left over.

iTunes Prepaid cards are now available at all Target stores, nationwide

There's no information on Apple's Web site other than a window on the iTunes Web page, and a card redemption page on the iTunes Music Store.

The Mac Observer Spin:

This is interesting on 2 fronts: First, Apple has hardly made a peep about the availability of prepaid cards at Target. The only mention made that we can find is in the weekly 'New Music Tuesdays' e-mail Apple sends out, and the small section on the Web page pictured above. It could be that Apple is waiting until Friday, during the release of the iPod mini, to make a big deal of it. We guess we'll just have to wait and see.

The other point of interest is the fact that Napster is showing up in a big way in Target. Napster, as you know, is a competing music download service. Napster's presence in Target is hard to miss; there are all sorts of Napster-branded paraphernalia, including Napster branded CD-Rs, prominently displayed on endcaps at Target. At the same time, it is a chore to find an iPod, or anything that advertises Apple's iTMS.

That may change if iPod minis are to be marketed at Target as well. If so, Apple will have several items for shoppers to choose from, and so could warrant a more prominent spot on Target's floor. The high-stakes game of buying retail-space isn't for the feint of heart, however, and Apple might simply be letting Roxio spend itself silly on Napster marketing.

All that said, we are delighted, absolutely kick-us-in-the-seat-of-our-pants-delighted, that Apple is offering these gift cards at Target. This is a tremendous marketing tool, and the fact that it can be found outside of an Apple-specific outlet is nothing short of fantastic. It not only helps sell more songs, it helps get Apple's name out in front of folks, and we think that benefits the Mac platform at the same time. We very strongly hope that Apple expands this retailing effort.

Spin Update:

The prepaid cards are very cool; the one we bought was blue with silver lettering, very nice for gifting. We also liked the endcap display, which will, presumably, have an iPod and an iPod mini available to play with.

Another bit of interesting stuff is the presence of Phillips iPod accessories. We found earplug-headsets to replace the earbuds that come with your iPod; these looked like a very reasonable alternative for those who, for one reason or the other, can't or won't use earbuds. We've no idea how they sound, but the price is right at $20, and they come in both black and white models.

One last thought; if the salesclerk was on the up and up, and Target store won't get to sell iPod minis until April, the reasoning may be as simple as the lack of adequate supplies to stock every Target in the US and every Apple Store. With demand apparently high before the dinky iPods are even released means that Apple may have to play catch-up, something that seems to be status quo for new products from Apple.

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