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Apple drops iPhone 3GS to $49

Following on the heels of AT&T and Best Buy last week, Apple has officially dropped the price on the 8 GB version of the iPhone 3GS to $49. The offer is available to new customers as well as qualified upgrade customers, and represents a 50 percent drop in price from what Apple was most recently asking for the 3GS. Of course, Apple is still selling the iPhone 4, with 16 and 32 GB versions going for $199 and $299, respectively.

The price drop comes on the eve of an anticipated announcement from Verizon Wireless that it will be offering a version of the Apple iPhone for its network.

The price drops on the iPhone 3GS handsets are widely being views as a last-minute move to get as many potential customers who have been sitting on the fence about getting an iPhone to commit to a two-year deal with AT&T, thereby staving off some potential losses to the carrier if Verizon, in fact, announces it will be carrying the iPhone. Since its launch in 2007, AT&T has had an exclusive lock on offering the iPhone in the United States, and while many iPhone customers have been pleased with their devices, many have been less-than-enamored of AT&T’s service, particularly in dense urban areas like San Francisco and New York. Since the iPhone launched, some customers (and would-be customers) have called for a version to be made available for Verizon Wireless’s CDMA-based mobile network. Verizon Wireless is the largest mobile operator in the United States and broadly advertises the wide coverage it offers for voice and data services.