The $99 iPhone Exists, Just Not at Wal-Mart

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All of the hoopla last week over the possibility of a $99 iPhone at Wal-Mart got the analysts fired up. It was supposed to be 4GB with possible slower speeds and cut features. Maybe it was even going to be "Nano."

$99 iPhones would sell a trillion times more than they are currently and crush all of the other smartphones, said Charlie Wolf from Needham research.

"A $99, Apple-branded cell phone is inevitable," said Shaw Wu, an analyst for Kaufman Brothers in San Francisco. "One of the key things Apple needs to do to drive broader iPhone adoption is to build a more complete product line" with low- end, mid-range and high-end products, Wu said in a Dec. 5 note.

Well, the Walmart iPhones are just like iPhones from Apple, Best Buy and AT&T. The only difference is that Apple is giving Walmart customers a big fat $2 discount when they buy them at Walmart. As I've stated before, this will sell a whole lot more iPhones, even if there is effectively no price drop. They are going to be in front of so many more eyes - and fingers - that it will certainly be picked up by a few more shoppers.

But the $99 iPhone is indeed a reality. AT&T is selling their refurbished iPhones for $100, making the 8Gb iPhone $99.

Refurbished iPhones are:

...previously owned devices that have been unused or lightly used and returned during the 30-day trial period. Each refurbished phone is independently quality tested and loaded with the latest software to meet current factory standards. Some refurbished iPhone 3G devices will have minor scratches.

Refurbished iPhone 3G devices carry a warranty of 90 days or more. For details about the warranty on your refurbished iPhone 3G go to

This deal lasts until supplies run out or December 31st, whichever comes first. There is a lot of chatter on the Internet about it, so it will likely be gone soon. It won't likely be long enough to affect long term sales numbers but could give Apple and AT&T an indication of how well a $99 iPhone would sell.

But this isn't the end of the rumors.

MacBlogz seems to think the fact that there is a refurbished sale on iPhones means that there is a new 32GB iPhone coming at Macworld. It isn't far fetched, as there is a new 32GB chip that would fit where the current 8GB does on the iPhone. But Apple has historically updated the iPhones after Macworld.

So, I'm not so sure.

This story, "The $99 iPhone Exists, Just Not at Wal-Mart" was originally published by Computerworld.

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