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Cut-rate Apple: iPhones for nine bucks, iPads for 70?

editor's notebook I have what, for a tech editor, is a shocking confession to make: I'm--gasp--not an early adopter. But at these prices, maybe it's time to join Generation i.

Attention: This is not an iPhone. It's cooler.

editor's notebook I have what, for a tech editor, is a shocking confession to make: I'm--gasp--not an early adopter. I can justify this in several admirable ways, but for now let's just say that I like to wait till bugs get sorted out and prices drop.

(I'm also not really comfortable with the idea of dumping perfectly workable gadgets for shiny and fashionable new gizmos; IMHO it's a waste, and is anything but thoughtful consumption. Plus, my Nokia handset absolutely oozes retro cool and will soon be a collector's item. They just don't make 'em like that anymore, folks.)

But I think, after x number of years of its being on the market, I may finally need to awake from my Rip van Winkle dreamworld and pony up for that revolutionary gadget known as the iPhone.

Why, just the other day, while lovingly gazing at the "city03.jpg" wallpaper on my trusty Nokia (I wish I could name-check the brilliant--but alas anonymous--designer of said wallpaper), I was thinking, "Gee, I'll bet prices have come down on the iPhone by now. Two hundred bucks for a phone? Give me a break."

Well, they have. And how. As gadget blog Electronista informs us, AT&T has dropped the price of a refurbished iPhone 3GS to a mere $9. Yes, that's right. An iPhone for less than the cost of seeing the latest Harry Potter flick at a theater (and less than a Netflix DVD-plus-streaming subscription--heel boys and girls, heel).

Now, I realize that "refurbished" isn't new, that 3GS isn't either, and that locking myself into a two-year iPhone deal with AT&T is one of the great tech-world experiences I should probably remain blissfully ignorant of. Still, nine bucks for an iPhone? There might be something to this unearly-adopter stance after all.

That's right. Nine bucks.

And imagine my surprise when I discovered that the iPad--the iPad 2 no less--could be had for a mere 70 smackers. At Sears. Wow. My little Luddite heart nearly stopped beating. Next they'll be selling them via vending machines. I'd better get moving, before the iPad quickly goes the way the iPod seems to be going (CNN Money reports that some analysts see a 7.2 percent iPod sales drop year over year), disappears completely, and I never get my hands on one.

Alas, the Sears iPad price, as Business Insider makes clear, was a mistake, and the lucky few who jumped on the "deal" and speedily ordered one online, won't be getting the devices after all. Not at that price anyway--they'll have to plunk down $744.99.

Still, it's only a matter of time, isn't it? The iPad will one day cost less than the stream of "Pirates of Silicon Valley" you're watching on it. And then, yes, it will vanish completely.

At which point I'll content myself with playing Sky Diver on my Nokia.