Reports Suggest Wal-Mart Ready to Stock iPhone

Dennis Faas's picture

Although it recently appeared on Yahoo's list of the most over-hyped tech products in recent memory, the Apple iPhone is clearly a consumer favorite. Taking note, as always, is Wal-Mart, as reports suggest the retail goliath is prepared to stock the popular device by the end of the month.

According to store employees (I guess $8 an hour doesn't keep one muzzled) and various other media reports, Wal-Mart should have the popular touch-screen device on its shelves by the time Americans ring in the New Year. Officially, Wal-Mart spokespeople have stated that the company has "made no official announcement," but that's not stopping the flood of underground confirmations. Even the stock market seems to have bought in, with Apple shares rising five per cent the morning rumors began to coagulate. (Source:

Although Apple stocks its iPod in most Wal-Mart stores, the company has yet to jump on the retail giant's growing cellphone business.

Now that it seems all but certain that the iPhone will make its Wal-Mart debut, the real controversy is over how much the device will cost. A number of web sites have predicted that the retailer will sell a 4 GB version of the iPhone for a very reasonable $99. However, although CNBC believes Wal-Mart will be stocking the popular cell, it probably won't cost that little.

So, what's the advantage for Apple?

According to analyst Andy Hargreaves, the benefits are quite obvious. The Cupertino-based company gains access "to a demographic they don't have a lot of exposure to." Because the mere exposure to that immense Wal-Mart market is so lucrative, Apple probably won't have to cut a deal so dear to its heart, Hargreaves believes. In other words, the $99 bargain is pretty unlikely. (Source:

Currently, the cheapest version of the iPhone is a $199 8 GB model available through AT&T. Most service deals required to access text messaging and other data ramp the monthly cost upwards of $50 a month.

The rumored $99 Wal-Mart 4 GB edition would hold about 1,000 songs, but there's no word yet on what a service deal might be like, or if it would be any different than the AT&T standard.

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