Wal-Mart Brings the iPhone to "Hockey Moms"

There were rumors that Wal-Mart was going to start selling a 4GB iPhone for $99 dollars. Those rumors have proven untrue according to Engadget, which got its hands on an apparently authentic internal Wal-Mart communication about the impending iPhone program:

  • Reported launch is December 28, 2008
  • Pricing: 8GB ($197) and 16GB ($297). That's just $2 off standard pricing. A two-year AT&T contract is required.

Wal-Mart is also selling the Android G1.

What's interesting here is not the pricing -- although it would've been if the $99 iPhone had been real -- but the potential broader exposure the phone will gain through the world's largest retailer. The population that visits Apple stores is likely quite different from that shopping at Wal-Mart, hence the headline of this post.

With most Apple products, touching or using them is a key part of the sale. That holds true for the iPhone as well. That's why Apple retail stores have been so successful, among several other reasons. 

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Related: Orange (France Telecom) loses iPhone exclusivity in France but will appeal the judicial decision:

The iPhone will no longer be available for just Orange subscribers in France after a decision by the national competition council announced Wednesday.

The council in September received a complaint from Bouygues Telecom, which, of course, is welcoming the decision, and will launch the iPhone as soon as possible, the company said.

The decision will also affect Orange's role as a wholesaler for distribution of the iPhone, and also the distribution contracts proposed by Apple obliging resellers to distribute the iPhone only with an Orange network contract, according to the council.

Orange will appeal before the Court of Appeal in Paris.

A similar episode happened early on in Germany, with Vodafone suing T-Mobile to block exclusivity. T-Mobile subsequently won on appeal but Vondafone later became an iPhone distributor in Europe and elsewhere.