Just because Apple said that it was done rolling out any new products until Macworld, you didn't think that the company would stop generating talk, did you?
Gadget blog The Boy Genius Report is reporting that Apple has struck a deal to begin selling the iPhone 3G through Walmart, the enormous North American retail mega-chain.
In addition to a report, the site has posted an internal memo from AT&T outlining the plan. Supposedly, the iPhone would go on sale 28 December. While anything about Apple has to be treated with skepticism these days unless it comes directly from Cupertino, this report looks legit enough to at least dwell on for a bit.
The release date does raise eyebrows, as it misses the Christmas sweet spot (though I believe it is the last night of Hanukkah); and Apple doesn't really do Sunday releases as a rule, certainly not when it comes to the iPhone. Though a couple of people have noted that Apple's next financial quarter is set to fall on that day, which would make a lot of sense.
Walmart has a history of undercutting other vendors on its prices, but it wouldn't happen with the iPhone. Apple likes to keep the same price point for all of its hardware, and offering a discount to Walmart would only hurt its own retail efforts.
This would be more about getting the iPhone into more storefronts, particularly in the less-populated parts of the US where Apple stores or AT&T outlets are rare. Now that the iPhone has decidedly jumped out of the wealthier early-adopter bracket and into the general public, Walmart becomes a nice vehicle for reaching the blue-collar market.
If this is true, Best Buy has to be rather ticked off. The electronics retailer is increasingly jockying for space with Walmart's growing consumer electronics outfit, and Best Buy would lose the monopoly it enjoyed in many rural and suburban areas where Apple and AT&T had little presence.
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