|The supposedly for-high-end-only Apple iPhone is really as aggressively priced and marketed as any phone on the market.|
The secret to Apple's split retail identity is simple: It divides the shopping experience among different outlets and, in effect, offers a high- and low-end brand simultaneously. Just follow along in today's iPhone hunt. I started out this morning over at the spiffy, lux Westchester Mall, where a full-on, top-shelf Apple Store flogs the usual pricey MacBooks, iPhones and iPads. Yup, that really is about $4,000 for a desktop computer. Yikes! But even here, Apple's mass-market upside lurks. The iPhone 4 I want, -- not the state-of-the-art 4S, but still a perfectly good model -- can be had with a contract from major carriers such as Verizon (VZ), Sprint (S) and AT&T (T), for $99. Which made me wonder: Could there be a deeper market in discounted Apple goods elsewhere in the retail chain? Target makes a perfect spot for APPL.
I hopped back on my bike and headed over to the Target (TGT - Get Report) outlet at the White Plains City Center Mall across the road. There, in the back, behind the food and women's lingerie, is an iPhone 4 similar to what I saw at the Apple Store -- but for just $49.99, again with a carrier contract.