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Sams Club to sell the iPhone and iPad

Who isn’t selling the iPad and iPhone these days? Wal-Mart’s buy-in-bulk members-only store, Sam’s Club, has jumped on the Apple bandwagon. At an investors meeting today, as reported by CNET, representatives confirmed that the warehouse store will begin selling the iPhone 4,  iPad, and iPod Touch in the near future, though no official date or pricing information was given. The news comes a day after partent-company Wal-Mart announced that it would begin selling the iPad in some stores on Friday, with a full 2,300 store roll-out by the middle of November.

Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club join a growing list of retailers offering the top-selling Apple products. Best Buy and Target also sell the devices alongside official Apple and AT&T stores.

According to Bernstein Research, the iPad is the fastest selling gadget of all time, with more than 8 million units sold since it launched in April. Apple’s expansion into a wider array of retail outlets could be a preemptive move against the mounting competition in the tablet and smartphone spaces. Google’s Android operating system appears to be the platform of choice for many upcoming iPad-like tablets. Competition from other mobile operating systems like Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7, RIM’s BlackBerry, and even a HP-revamped WebOS is also possible.

Is it a smart move for Apple to offer its products in such a large number of stores? Will increased availability and discounts from major retailers make the devices less cool, or are are you hunting for your membership card now?