It has been a tough year for small-business owners. While small to midsize businesses are hanging tough in a rough economic climate, owners are scaling back on everything from hiring to holiday bonuses. Even if the business is having a successful year, you may not have thought of getting something for yourself as a reward. Well, now Wal-Mart Stores is bringing you Apple's ultra-hip iPhone, for less than $200. Feel any better?
On Sunday, nearly 2,500 Wal-Mart stores across the United States will begin selling certain versions of the iPhone, including a black 8GB iPhone 3G for $197 and a 16GB model in black or white for $297. In a statement released Friday, Wal-Mart said all phones will require a new two-year service agreement or a qualified upgrade.
"We are delighted to bring customers this ground-breaking mobile technology," said Wal-Mart's senior vice president of entertainment, Gary Severson. "Our electronics associates have been preparing for many weeks for the arrival of iPhone 3G. We are excited to now help new customers learn more about the features and services that make the iPhone unique."
The iPhone's arrival at Wal-Mart has been the worst-kept secret on the Internet for the past three weeks, with rumors running rampant across the Web. While the official confirmation may be no great surprise, some will be disappointed that the rumored $99 price point did not come to pass. However, as early as October, word of the potential deal between Apple and Wal-Mart, the second third-party retailer (after Best Buy) to sell the iPhone, began to circulate.
A Sleek Smartphone for SMBs
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the iPhone made several "best of" lists this year, including my "Five Killer Smartphones for SMBs." In a business world that requires many small-business owners to stay connected on the go, a smartphone is a critical business accessory.
Although the iPhone lacks a universal corporate e-mail system (the iPhone handles BlackBerry e-mail by channeling it through a Windows Mobile server), adding an Exchange account is a relatively straightforward process, and it will sync your Outlook e-mail, contacts and calendar. After a tough year, perhaps this Apple is just the treat you need.