Apple has started offering refurbished iPhones that are priced $100 less than the originals and come with a one-year limited warranty.
The handsets, which were either returned or brought in for repair, are available in 4-Gbyte or 8-Gbyte models. For an additional $69, Apple is offering the AppleCare Protection Program, which extends repair coverage on the combination cellular phone, music player, and Web browser for two years.
The refurbished 4-Gbyte iPhone sells for $399, and the 8-Gbyte version sells for $499. The gadgets normally cost $499 and $599, respectively. Both models ship within one to three business days.
It's not clear when Apple started offering the phones through the company's online store, where Apple also sells refurbished iPods and Macs. The iPhone went on sale June 29.
During the first 30 hours after the iPhone hit store shelves, Apple and AT&T, the exclusive carrier of the gadget, sold 270,000 iPhones, which was far more voluminous than debuts of other advanced mobile phones. Apple said it expects to sell 1 million iPhones by the end of September and 10 million by next June.
Some problems with the devices have been reported, but the issues do not seem to affect a large number of buyers. IPhone customers, for example, recently reported on the discussion forum of Apple's support site problems with dead spots on the handset's touch-screen interface.
Buyers reported bringing the phone back to an Apple store, where in many cases they received a loaner phone at no charge while the broken handset was being repaired. Apple, according to the reports, was not handing out new phones as replacements.
There also have been complaints that Apple should have offered a user-replaceable battery in the iPhone, instead of having customers ship the device back to Apple to get a replacement. One customer has filed a class-action suite against Apple, claiming that the company failed to make it clear to buyers that the battery couldn't be easily replaced.