Apple has joined AT&T in offering iPhones without a contract at a hefty price.
Last week, AppleInsider is reporting that the company has indeed rolled out the similar no-contact offer at its stores, which makes sense, given the tight partnership between the two companies.for $599 and $699, but Apple did not respond to inquiries as to whether it had the same idea in mind. Now
It's still a little difficult to get a sense of how many people would jump on such an offer. Such offers are very common in other parts of the world, but mobile-phone shoppers in this economic climate might prefer to take their savings up front, especially since all iPhone 3Gs sold in this manner will still be locked to AT&T's network.
The moves, however, are probably just another signpost on the road to the next iPhone. Another AppleInsider report on Friday that AT&T has started offering the $199/$299 subsidized prices to existing customers without iPhones who have yet to become eligible for upgrade pricing seems a strong sign that the carrier wants to clear inventory ahead of a new model.
Last year,ahead of the launch of the iPhone 3G. They might do something similar this year, because if the plan is to announce a new iPhone at the Worldwide Developers Conference in early June and ship it later (perhaps timed with the ), demand for the iPhone 3G would fall off a cliff after the announcement.