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Apple Mini-Stores Are Heading to Target

If you live in an area where the closest Apple brick-and-mortar store is at least two hours away, here's a bit of good news: Target is now playing host to Apple's mini-stores across the nation. Granted these little itty-bitty Apple samples are already present in many Best Buy locations, this will be an opportunity for Apple to reach out to consumers who aren't necessarily looking to purchase hardware.

But don't start jumping for joy just yet. Target spokeswoman Dustee Jenkins said the move to add Apple mini-stores will initially be more of a test run than a permanent thing. Naturally both parties will need to see concrete sales before committing to anything solid. "We will have 25 stores (in Targets) with unique display and assortment," Jenkins said.

Currently Target sells a few Apple items like the iPod line, Apple TV and the iPad, but it does not offer actual computers like the MacBook Air, the iMac or the Mac Pro. Semi-rival Best Buy is an authorized reseller, dishing out whatever Apple has to offer. To grab those customers, Target will need to follow Best Buy's lead.

The news of Apple's mini-stores arrives by way of a bigger announcement from Target. Earlier this week, the company revealed its "The Shops at Target" concept which will include items from boutiques like Miami's The Webster and San Francisco's The Candy Store. The company has also been authorized by its board to buy back up to $5 billion of its shares over the next two or three years upon completion of its current $10 billion buyback plan.

Target's agreement with Apple may be quite well timed, too. Recent reports indicated that Apple is gearing up to launch a pair of next-gen iPad tablets that will serve as the mid-range and high-end range of its tablet line, while the low-end will be filled by the current iPad 2 with a reduced price. Nothing is confirmed as of yet, but the fruity company is expected to reveal its new tablet(s) towards the end of the month.