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Save $2 on the iPhone at Wal-Mart

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Waking up to the Sunday newspaper after Christmas always means a sheaf of sale flyers bearing ridiculous deals on electronics, but here's one to take the cake: Wal-Mart began selling 8GB iPhones on Sunday for the low, low price of $197, or $2 off the regular retail.

Although rumors circulated earlier this season that Wal-Mart would offer the hot potatoes for an unprecedented $99, they were unable to deliver on both this and the expected availability date of before Christmas. Instead, Wal-Mart has comfortably settled their iPhone sales into the period of high gift card redemption and Xmas bonus spending; the "discounted" price continues through January 3.

So was Middle America lining up outside of Wal-Marts from here to Kalamazoo? Hardly. A few calls to area (and by area, we mean way out in New Jersey and further) Wal-Marts revealed that store employees either had no knowledge of the release or, if they did have a clue, they hadn't even received the goods yet. This depressing confusion is just another justification for those who waited in three-hour lines over the summer at NYC Apple and AT&T stores.

Now for the deep questions: Is Apple diluting the iPhone's cool factor by allowing Wal-Mart a piece of the action? Will the iPhone become as ubiquitous as the Motorola RAZR in places like Rapid City, SD and Murfreesboro, TN? When and if the price ever drops down to $99, then we're sure to have some answers.
· Slightly-On-Sale iPhones Arrive at Wal-Mart Today, Still Not $99 [Gizmodo]
· Mythbusting: Wal-Mart $99 iPhones [Racked]