Apple expands iPad availablity -

Fruity seller of electronic toys, Apple has started flogging its iPad through the ordinary retail channels.

The move, which indicates that Steve Jobs is moving away from his "exclusive deals" and locked in contracts with resellers, will mean that all six models of the iPad will be sold to authorised resellers across the US.

Apple has refused to hand over the gear to resellers because it has been worried about the iPad's image. It fears that if resellers get their paws on it they will try and sell it in a somewhat seedy way.

Online resellers have been only able to sell the iPad only over the phone, as Apple has not yet allowed online buys.

But Steve Jobs' control freak attitude to the "super, cool and magical" gadget is driving resellers mad.

According to Apple Insider, the slightest changes to promotional graphics on their website to be approved is a process that those people say has been tedious and frustrating.

The new distribution applies to both the Wi-Fi-only models, starting at $499 for 16GB of storage, to the 3G-capable hardware, which carries a $130 premium.

Best Buy is set to expand sales of the iPad to all of its American retail stores.

Rumours are circulating that the iPad is to go on sale at Target in the coming weeks.

Apple's reluctance to get its gadget into the shops has caused many analysts to scratch their heads. Expansion of the iPad to more retail outlets is expected to increase Apple's sales of the device significantly.

Quite why no one at Apple pointed out that Jobs' obsessive control of the advertising was costing it sales is anyone's guess.