Thursday, December 04, 2008

$99 iPhones at Wal-Mart?

As a power user of the iPhone, I found my 1st generation device with 8GB of memory was quickly filled to capacity with songs and videos. I still struggle sometimes to manage the content on my iPhone 3G with its relatively robust 16 GB of memory. But I know a few people who bought 4 GB iPhone when they were out there, and are plenty happy with their devices to this day.

Now, rumors are out there that Wal-Mart is preparing to sell 4 GB iPhone 3G devices starting December 28. As an Apple shareholder, this gets me very excited as it brings the iPhone into the range of a whole new class of buyer, who may be flush with store credit from returning presents. This may be Apple's attempt toward an "iPhone Nano" or "iPhone Shuffle".

The question is, would a shopper who balks at a $199 iPhone, be willing to commit to $80 a month for data and voice? Or will this phone also be on a pay-as-you-go or cheaper voice-only plan?


Sean said...

It seems to me that if you can't afford a $199 iPhone, you won't be able to afford the $85/month bill. It seems crazy to go out of the way to buy a phone you probably can't afford to use. I don't see this going well - at least for the consumers that will flock to this 'cheap' phone only to find out that it's monthly charges are too much for them.

Secondly, what is Apple going to do about activation. Will activation be done in the store or will consumers be able to take the phone home and activate later. Seems that they have gone away from that model, but we'll see.

Nomad said...


Most Wal-Marts in our area have an AT&T mobile counter already in them in the electronics section. When you buy a phone from them, they call AT&T and activate it with you there. So, no problem on the activation.

My guess is if this rumor is true then we'll see the $99 iPhones on some kind of cheaper monthly plan. Maybe voice only for $30/month, with the idea that Wifi is always there for many customers. Then the customer is free to upgrade to EDGE or 3G when they are ready. If you were a college student (probably where this is mostly targeted) then you already may have ubiquitous Wifi, as long as you stay on campus. And for many, the computer/phone/technology you get comfortable with at college is the one you keep for life.