In one of the strangest moves we have seen out of GameStop in a while, they will soon be carrying Apple products in-store. In addition to selling products like the iPod Touch and iPad, the company will also begin offering iPhones. The idea of carrying iPhones now, as Apple is rumored to expand its US wireless offerings to all 4 carriers, adding Sprint and T-Mobile USA at iPhone 5 launch, sure seems like a good idea on paper. Over 20 million iPhones were sold this past quarter, and that can only increase if the rumors of Sprint and T-Mobile are true.
In addition to a large user-base for the iPhone and iPad, it also seems like a semi-natural fit for GameStop, seeing as more and more games are written to accommodate the platform. The problem with adding this new product category is that it will bring GameStop into a new world that they are not used to - wireless plans and activations. It's not an easy world, as any employee of a wireless carrier store, kiosk or third-party can tell you.
What else has GameStop got up their sleeves with Apple and how might they handle this shift? Hit the break to find out.
In addition to carrying the products, GameStop will also offer in-store trade-ins on old Apple hardware for store credit. There is no telling what they might do with the hardware, however. The company is known for testing and reselling traded hardware when it comes to consoles, but, again, selling used Apple products would introduce them into a different world, especially when it comes to phones.
The potential for alterations to a phone, particularly an iPhone, are much higher than that of an Xbox 360 or a PlayStation 3. Jailbreaking an iPhone is commonplace and with Apple's strict policies with its resellers, if GameStop were to accidentally sell an unlocked iPhone, they could lose their contract with Apple.
There are certainly a lot of obstacles to overcome, but GameStop might be able to pull it off. There will certainly have to be a lot of training for their associates if they are going to be selling iPhones and even more if they are going to be selling used hardware. My hope is that GameStop will bring in new wireless specialists rather than hoping their existing staff can handle it.