During a brief visit to San Francisco's Apple store I just saw two people snap up the new cheaper iPhone. They bought 8GB versions, now selling at $399 -- but salespeople were also pointing out that the 4GB iPhone is available now for just $299.
You can buy an entry-level iPhone, that is, for the same price as an 8GB iPod Touch, and just $50 more than the standard iPod (sorry, the iPod Classic). Or, to reach for another comparison, the iPhone is just a bit more, now, than dinner at the French Laundry.
Apple notes in a press release that the $299 4GB iPhone is available "while supplies last" -- that is, Apple's not making any more of them.
The 8GB model is presumably still being produced. But as some people are already suggesting, that may not last long.
Ask yourself this: Why is Apple dropping prices now, so soon after the iPhone's release? To juice holiday sales, obviously. But maybe there's something else -- maybe it wants to clear out the current model for a new version to debut in January, at Macworld. Right?
And what could the next version have? More space and 3G networking -- faster than the iPhone's EDGE spec. And in return for those features Apple will, of course, bring the price back up. If you want a cheap iPhone, then, you know what to do.