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Users of Apple's iPhone who had been looking to upgrade to the next-generation 3G version of the device have had to turn to long distance --- Des Moines or the Twin Cities, for example --- for an upgrade.
On Wednesday, retail electronics chain Best Buy Co. said it would start selling the iPhone Sept. 7, becoming first U.S. chain to do so outside of Apple Inc.'s and AT&T Inc.'s own stores.
The new iPhone is sold with a two-year contract for AT&T wireless service.
"We will be carrying the new phone Sept. 7," said Matt Hatting, a manager at the Waterloo Best Buy, located in the Crossroads Shopping Center.
He said Thursday he didn't yet know how many iPhones the store would stock.
But, he added, there have been inquiries.
"We've had a few here and there," he said. "It just got announced, so we will get more, I'm sure."
Minneapolis-based Best Buy joining the iPhone craze --- analysts anticipate Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple, which launched the next-generation iPhone July 11, to sell more than 4 million of the devices in the next year --- adds nearly 1,000 outlets to the phone's retail network.
Best Buy also sells Apple's Macintosh computers and iPod media players in more than 600 of its stores.
"The iPhone has changed the way people think about their mobile phones, and we are delighted to help more customers get their hands on this revolutionary product," Brian Dunn, Best Buy's president and chief operating officer, said in a news release. "Our Best Buy Mobile employees have the training and expertise to deliver the best experience possible for our customers --- from the initial purchase through the life of their iPhones."
Best Buy Mobile plans to sell the iPhone 3G at the suggested retail price of $199 for the 8 gigabyte model and $299 for the 16GB model.
Another major electronics chain, RadioShack Corp., sells AT&T phones, but it doesn't offer the iPhone.