The world’s biggest retailer is now selling the iPhone for $97. Beginning yesterday Wal-Mart started selling the 16GB 3GS iPhone and this is nearly $100 off the price of the handset. The deal does require buyers to sign up for a two-year contract with AT&T – which remains the exclusive carrier, at least for now.
So why would even Wal-Mart offer the phone at this price? Analysts and other tech experts are already predicting that a new iPhone will be unveiled next month, and this is a way to clear out inventory. Of course how many iPhones could actually be sold through Wal-Mart is yet to be seen, as the company already moved 8.3 million handsets last quarter, which was more than twice the amount sold during the same period a year ago. Those who have been waiting might jump on the price, but with the iPhone it is likely more than just price.
The next part of the equation is whether Steve Jobs can make magic happen again. Apple has announced that the company’s CEO will be taking center stage at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference for a keynote on June 7 in San Francisco. No doubt he’ll show something off, but with the iPad already in stores and the leaked information on the 4G iPhone, what more could really be said? For it to be really big it probably needs to be more than just the iPhone OS 4, at least unless the operating system does something really big.
One possibility is that Jobs could announce that Verizon or another carrier will be getting the iPhone. That of course would be big news, and could be the reason to suddenly blow out the old stock at Wal-Mart, as customers would be locked into a two-year contract. That might be enough to keep AT&T a bit happier if it is going to lose its exclusivity.
iPad Banned by the Yankees
If you’re going out to catch the Bronx Bombers leave the iPad at home. While not quite the level of the nation of Israel banning the device, the Yankees have banned the iPad as part of the “no laptops” security policy that is in place in Yankee Stadium. As noted on the blogosphere it is an odd ban, given that Wi-Fi is available within the new sports complex.
Tales from the Encryption
Need to do some routine Web searches but want to feel like a super spy at the same time? Add an “S” and you’re good to go. Last Friday Google began offering an encrypted option that the company plans to roll out across all its services.
Essentially what it means that is users can opt for a more secure search by using the secure site of Google, which means adding an “s” to the http, as in https://www.google.com. This provides an encrypted search between a user’s computer and the Google search server, and users will see the customized logo that includes an icon of a lock and the “SSL.” This is the “Secure Sockets Layer” technology that encrypts the information. While normally used for banking and e-commerce sites, the technology is now available for all users in a beta form – with a full version coming later this year. It should be noted however that clicking on any link will take you out of the encrypted mode.