6/11/2010 3:59:00 PM
Best Buy to stock Apple iPhone 4
Retail giant Best Buy is to stock the Apple iPhone 4 from 24 June.
The move coincides with the launch of Best Buy's third UK store at Merry Hill in the West Midlands, which is set to open the day after the iPhone 4 launch.
Best Buy's iPhone 4 deal confirms a fundamental shift in the way Apple is marketing its latest version of the iPhone, moving away from exclusive deals to a broad distribution of the handset to all levels of the consumer market.
The retailer declined to reveal its pricing strategy. However, a Best Buy spokeswoman added that the retailer was selling the recently launched Apple iPad at the recommended retail price.
So far Apple has cut deals with all five UK operators, as well as Phones 4u and Carphone Warehouse for the iPhone 4. It is also expected to seal a deal with Tesco soon.
John Strand, MD of Strand Consult, said the broader distribution of the iPhone 4 'is good news for MVNOs but bad news for MNOs'.
He added: 'The main customers for the iPhone 4 will be old iPhone customers who will skip their old phones and buy new. This will cost the operators a lot of money in acquisition costs. Meanwhile, the old iPhones will go to webstores and be bought by people who will then go to MVNOs to buy Sim only deals.'
Tim Shepherd, analyst at Canalys, said Apple would be 'pretty aggressive' on getting the iPhone 4 ranged in more stores and across more channels.
Shepherd said exclusive iPhone deals had proved useful in the early days of launching the iPhone but had outlived their usefulness.
'It now makes sense for Apple to maximise the number of customers for the iPhone and tap into the pent up demand created by exclusive deals,' he said.