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Apple prepping $99 Wal-Mart iPhone?

Boy Genius cranks rumor mill

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Every December, the rumor mills begin to churn with speculation about what Apple will reveal at January's Macworld Expo. The first scintillating scuttlebutt of this year's rumor season, however, focuses not on Steve's traditional "And one more thing..." but instead on Wal-Mart's possible revival of the 4GB iPhone.

The Boy Genius Report — the self-styled "crowd favorite within the circles of the online gadget communities" — first reported back in October that The Destroyer of Small-Town America, aka Wal-Mart, would join Best Buy as a mass-market distributor of the iPhone 3G. Today comes news that the Brainiac Laddie has refined his prognostictions with the assertion that not only is the iPhone on its way to the big-box retailer, but that a $99 4GB model will be in the mix, offered at that price with a two-year contract.

But don't start counting the nickels and dimes in your change jar just yet, as the Eggheaded Enfant cautions that he's not putting his "stamp of approval behind this [rumor] just yet." That said, his web site does include a fairly convincing photo of an "iPhone 3G Activation Reference Guide" festooned with both the AT&T and non-hyphenated Walmart logos, presumably to be used in training sessions for the megastore's minions sales associates.

True or not, the idea of selling a bargain basement–priced iPhone at the bargain-based retailer makes sense. An affordable 4GB iPhone 3G — the original-iPhone 4GB model having been discontinued last year — should have mass appeal, seeing as how not everyone needs to carry the full set of Nickelodeon's Holly Jolly Holiday Specials '08 in their pocket. ®

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