Apple (AAPL) could be expanding its iPhone retail presence again: After adding Best Buy (BBY) in August, Apple could be offering the iPhone at Wal-Mart (WMT) stores beginning in late December. That is, if a memo obtained by mobile blog Boy Genius Report is real.
The note purports that the iPhone will go on sale at Wal-Mart and some Sam’s Club stores on Dec. 28. (Bizarre date, but not a deal-breaker.)
The memo doesn’t include a price. Presumably, Wal-Mart will want to sell it for less than its $199 retail price. It already sells Google’s (GOOG) G1 smartphone — one of Apple’s biggest rivals — for a $30 discount.
Any idea that Apple wouldn’t sell the iPhone at Wal-Mart because it’s not classy enough is ridiculous. Apple already sells its iPods everywhere, including Costco (COST) stores. And Wal-Mart employees should be just as capable as Apple Store employees at selling you a box with a phone inside it. (In fact, we wonder why Apple’s hasn’t started selling the iPhone at Radio Shack stores yet, or other non-AT&T owned AT&T outlets.)
What this does tell us: Apple is taking this mobile platform thing seriously, and is really driving for massive market share. Which is smart — its App Store is already a huge advantage over rivals like Google and RIM (RIMM).
If Apple plans to sell the iPhone at 2,500 Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club locations, as the Boy Genius Report suggests, filling their inventory could boost Apple’s iPhone shipment numbers by several hundred thousand phones, probably during the December quarter.
Full, alleged memo, as obtained by BGR:
We are pleased to announce that Wal-Mart has reached agreement with Apple to offer iPhone 3G in Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart-managed Sam’s Club* Connection centres nationwide beginning December 28, 2008. AT&T will support Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club with the activation process for iPhone 3G, and we need all National Retail employees engaged to ensure a successful launch.
*NOTE: This product launch DOES NOT apply to SC Kiosks within Sam’s Club managed by Radio Shack.
Wal-Mart has communicated the following launch plans and execution timeline to their employees:
- iPhone 3G will be available in-store only beginning 12/28/08
- New and existing customers in good standing can purchase iPhone 3G with a 2 year contract
- iPhone 3G transactions only will be processed through POS.com, not the kiosk
- 12/2 – 12/5: AT&T / Wal-Mart MEM Classroom Training for Store Leads
- 12/3 – 12/19: AT&T In-Store Training
- 12/26 – 12/27: AT&T In-Store Refresher Training
- 12/28: Nationwide Launch
- 12/28 – 12/30: Wal-Mart and AT&T War Room Support
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