updated 08:10 pm EDT, Tue August 12, 2008
iPhones coming to Best Buy
MacNN has confirmed that Best Buy is expected begin selling the iPhone 3G in early September, making it the first independent US retailer to offer the device. Best Buy has reportedly struck a deal with Apple to carry new iPhones in 970 stores and 16 Best Buy Mobile outlets starting September 7th. An announcement could come as soon as early Wednesday morning, according to report first noted by AppleInsider. Best Buy is no stranger to Apple products, having a long-standing on-and-off relationship with the company over the years. The company has been selling iPods for several years and recently expanded Mac sales at more than 600 of its larger stores.
The latest move comes a week after Best Buy announce it had completed upgrades to its mobile phone departments at each of its US stores and the upgrades may have helped persuade Apple to sign the deal. The upgraded mobile departments will be staffed with workers who have received 80 hours of training, so theoretically they would have the kind of product knowledge Apple prefers.
Best Buy has been after the iPhone for some time, but the report indicates Apple was reluctant to do business with the retailer over concerns about the potential for creating a market for unlocked iPhones; however, with the iPhone 3G causing lines at Apple and ATT stores creating long lines, Apple needs additional retail outlets to meet the brisk demand, AppleInsider notes.
Previous reports suggest that Apple has also been talking with electronics retailer Radio Shack about a potential deal. The retailer has already been experimenting with stores that will closely mimic the designer look of Apple's locations in at least three locations that would mirror the "look and feel" of Apple's stores and would focus more closely on cellphones as well as carrying touchscreen devices from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.