Refurbished iPhone 3G for $149: Smells Like a Fire Sale

Out with the old iPhone, in with the new?

So it appears at the AT&T Wireless site, where a refurbished 16GB iPhone 3G is now selling for a suspiciously low US$149 -- a 50-percent discount off the $299 regular price. True, it's a refurb, which means it may have a scratch or two, and its warranty period is most likely a mere 90 days. You'll have to sign a two-year contract too.

But even with those minor caveats, that's a damn good price for a 16GB iPhone 3G. And the fire-sale price is certainly another indication of Apple's efforts to clear out inventory to make way for the next-generation iPhone, which is rumored to debut as early as June.

Of course, pre-owned iPhones ("used" is such an ugly term, just as with cars) have been available for a few months now. AT&T in December began selling refurbished 8GB models for just $99, and Best Buy in January launched a somewhat pricier deal: $149 for a "refreshed" 8GB iPhone 3G; and $249 for the 16GB version.

The question for iPhone shoppers: Is it smarter to snag a bargain now, or what to see what goodies ? And if you go with the 3G now, what will it cost to upgrade to the latest handset?

Patience, grasshopper. All will be revealed soon.

This story, "Refurbished iPhone 3G for $149: Smells Like a Fire Sale" was originally published by PCWorld.

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