Although both retailers have already been selling Apple merchandise, the new "micro-stores" will expand the current offerings (with the exception of Mac computers) and create a product experience more akin to an Apple Store.
Several dozen more micro-stores are planned, though the rollout will be gradual.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said Apple's long-term goal isn't so much to stuff a micro-store into every Wal-Mart and Target, but to place them strategically in rural areas many miles from the mostly urban, wildly successful mall-based Apple Stores.
"We always talk about growth outside the U.S.," Munster said on CNBC recently. "The reality is, just look in our backyard. There's still a growth opportunity that no one's talking about, which is kind of outside the urban areas."
The allure for Wal-Mart and Target is the extraordinary foot traffic Apple products can generate. They're hoping that customers who come to shop for Apple products will stick around to buy other merchandise.
If the strategy works, both Apple and the big retailers win. But, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details.
In fact, Apple is no stranger to what can go wrong with the store-within-a-store concept.