It’s not clear whether Apple is doing this or it’s just someone who’s cut a deal with them (both 9to5Mac and CNet asked Apple for clarification, but the company apparently hasn’t responded yet), but an eBay store entitled “refurbished outlet” has opened up, selling factory-refurbished Apple products at the same prices (including some 4th-gen iPod Touches at the bargain prices I noted a couple of weeks ago) and with the same one-year warranty as on the Apple Store. (It’s a buy-it-now only operation, so there’s no bidding.) As a side benefit, only a few states’ residents—California, Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, and Texas, and Washington, D.C.—have to pay sales taxes on products purchased this way.
Needless to say, this presents some excellent opportunities to pick up some only-slightly-outdated Apple hardware just in time for Christmas. Apple’s refurbished products are a remarkably good deal in general (if you don’t mind being locked into Apple’s walled garden, anyway), the iOS devices are compatible with most major e-reading platforms thanks to the apps in Apple’s store, and the sales-tax savings make these even more tempting. And those 4th-gen Retina Display iPod Touches are some great little pocket-sized e-reading (and media-playing and Internetting in general) machines.