The brilliance of Steve Jobs at Apple (AAPL) has been embodied in a carefully cultivated image for Apple products. Jobs created elegant products that appear to be meant for the elite but were sold to the masses. When the masses bought Apple products, they felt good because they were buying what the rich were buying. When masses used Apple products, their experience was head and shoulders above competing products; the masses quickly learned what the rich were used to.

In countries like China, displaying an iPhone quickly became a badge of ‘I have made it’.

The genius of Steve Jobs was creating an image that produced a halo effect leading to the masses starving for Apple products.

In quite a contrast to Apple, Wal-Mart (WMT) is pedestrian. Traditionally Wal-Mart customers have been the low income sections of the society. And yes, there is no shortage of snobs who would not be caught dead in a Wal-Mart.

As if Apple needed more trouble, Wal-Mart now has just killed Apple’s feel good elitist image that Steve Jobs so carefully cultivated.

Wal-Mart has announced that it will offer iPhone 5, the latest iPhone, on its $45 a month no contract unlimited talk, text, and data plan. The offering will be available in more than 2000 Wal-Mart stores.

You may ask, ‘How can a typical low income Wal-Mart shopper afford a $600 iPhone 5?” Wal-Mart has the answer; it will offer special financing for only $25 per month with a Wal-Mart credit card to let low income consumers finance iPhone 5….Read more at Forbes

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