Wal-Mart iPhone 3GS sale clears shelves for Apple 4G iPhone

close up of an iPhone screen with apps

The Wal-Mart iPhone sale slashes prices nearly in half. Many think this is meant to to clear inventory for Apple's coming 4G iPhone. Flickr photo.

Wal-Mart is slashing prices on the new entry level iPhone. The retailer cut the price of the Wal-Mart iPhone by $100 to $97 with a two-year AT&T contract. Analysts say the Wal-Mart iPhone sale could be a sign that Apple wants to clear out old merchandise ahead of next month’s expected launch of a new 4G iPhone model at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference. Other industry developments leading up to Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference have industry sources buzzing about what’s in store for the iPhone.

The iPhone 4G triangle of intrigue

The Wal-Mart iPhone sale started Tuesday for Apple’s entry level 16-gigabyte 3GS phone. Meanwhile, just a few weeks before Apple’s conference, the Wall Street Journal reports that AT&T will charge smartphone customers fees the size of short term installment loans for breaking their AT&T iPhone contract early — nearly  doubling fees from $175 to $325 beginning June 1. The third point in the iPhone 4G triangle of intrigue is that Steve Jobs will be the keynote speaker at the Worldwide Developer Conference. Jobs usually has a grand announcement up his sleeve when he makes an appearance at a high profile technology event.

Apple bets on future with 4G iPhone

The Wal-Mart iPhone sale confirms that Apple is ready to unveil its 4G iPhone, according to the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, which reports that such a move signals Apple is confident that the 4G system, not available yet in most U.S. cities, will be widely and rapidly adopted. Analysts say widespread 4G adoption may be two to three years away. The same article reports that AT&T’s iPhone contract decision to hike the cost of terminating service  is being seen as a defensive move to keep iPhone customers from jumping to other carriers.

Verizon iPhone threatens AT&T

In another iPhone 4G rumor, Jobs will not only announce the 4G iPhone at the Worldwide Developer Conference, he will announce the Verizon iPhone. When, not if, the Verizon iPhone happens, the SV/SJ Business Journal reports that AT&T could lose 40 percent of its iPhone customers, about 6 million accounts. The blog techcrunch.com reports that by raising termination fees, AT&T wants to keep customers chained to AT&T for another two years after the Verizon iPhone is launched.

4G iPhone a gamechanger?

The 4G iPhone is generating a buzz because 4G offers download speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G. The exponential boost in data transfer is anticipated to put an end to buffering when content loads for video, music streaming and large format images on smartphones. For the business world, 4G will allow companies to expand mobile workforces without network gridlock and make video-conferencing routine. Media smartphone users will be able to send high quality live video reports.

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