After a furor of speculation this weekend that Wal-Mart [WMT ] might be the next retailer to carry Apple's [AAPL ] iPhone 3G, a few details have finally emerged. According to Bloomberg , the world's largest retailer will begin stocking Apple's 8GB model at the end of December, and selling it for $197 with a two-year AT&T [T ] contract. Apple and AT&T sell the device for $2 more at their own outlets.
It's likely that Wal-Mart will also eventually carry the 16GB version of the device, which Apple and AT&T price at $299.
This will come as a disappointment to anyone following the rumors from the end of last week that Wal-Mart would be exhuming the 4GB model -- now discontinued by Apple -- and selling it for $99 with contract. That didn't make much sense, as iPhones are selling briskly even without any bargain-basement incentives. Then again, Wal-Mart is really, really cheap.
Some analysts are still holding on to the $99 iPhone concept, citing it as an inevitable build-out of the company's mobile product line. But according to Apple, adoption is not a problem; Steve Jobs told analysts in October that the company had sold 10 million iPhones to date, amounting to 1% of the world-wide mobile phone market. Best Buy [BBY ] is the only other big-box retailer to sell the iPhone.