Apple readies for mobile mass market push

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is getting serious about wooing the mass market with a back to school discount, new pre-paid phones and a re-introduction of Apple products inside Costco stores. All as the company reportedly prepares to announce an iPhone 6.

Costco (NASDAQ:COST) stores are again selling Apple products, years after the membership club discontinued the practice in protest of Apple not allowing for iPad sales in stores. According to 9to5mac, Costco now has a selection of iPhone and iPad products. Assortment seems to be restricted, perhaps in anticipation of the new iPhone 6, expected to be announced in September.

Apple is also now offering $50 to $100 gift cards with purchase as part of a back-to-school promotion and its retail stores are now selling and activating iPhones with prepaid calling plans through AT&T's GoPhone, according to 9to5mac.

To go with the launch, T-Mobile will offer shoppers $50 off the device for prepaid plans and a $50 iTunes gift card for iPhones activated on its Simple Choice postpaid plans.

The prepaid T-Mobile iPhones and deals are now available in more than 250 Apple retail stores in the United States.

"T-Mobile is giving you more freedom to purchase your new iPhone how you want and where you want," said a statement on T-Mobile's website.

This announcement is the latest development in the competitive world of smartphone sales. Amazon recently joined the market by announcing the Fire Phone earlier this month, a smartphone four years in the making. The phone is a retailer's dream—if the retailer is Amazon—giving the e-retailer a deeper connection to its 250 million consumers.

For more:
-See this 9to5mac story
-See this 9to5mac story

Related stories:
Amazon Fire Phone could spell disaster for retailers
Apple's Ahrendts readies for retail reinvention
Apple advances mobile payments with Touch ID
Apple to debut smart home platform based on iBeacon
Apple confirms Beats deal worth $3B

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