Best Buy just beat Apple to the punch when it comes to offering a free iPhone — even if it is the bottom-of-the-line 8GB iPhone 3GS, for one day only Monday, which (naturally) requires a two-year contract.
Rumors and reports have suggested that Apple intends to announce a free iPhone alongside the iPhone 5. The upcoming freebie is said to be based on the iPhone 4, have significantly lower onboard storage, and to be called the iPhone iCloud.
If there’s any truth to that report, this Best Buy offer may not look like such a good deal in a few months’ time. Not to mention the fact that the iPhone 3GS is just $49 at its regular price, and requires you pay for data, with hefty termination fees. If you’re on the lookout for a cheap iPhone 3GS, you may have a better time getting a second-hand, out-of-contract device on Craigslist or similar sites. Check out The Unofficial Apple Weblog’s guide to finding one and pairing it with a pay-as-you-go data plan.
Nevertheless, this is a significant milestone in Apple’s history. Never before has a major retailer offered an Apple product for free to all customers, strings attached or otherwise. It’s another indication that the next frontier in the iPhone’s battle with Android is reducing cost at the low end — and getting bargain-hunting consumers to at least consider an iOS device.