A recent rumor is that Apple will start offering the iPhone 3GS as its “low-end” consumer device this Fall with a $350 off-contract price tag. Previously, it was speculated that Apple would introduce a second iPhone ‘Nano’ model in the coming months for the prepaid and cheaper phone markets.

AT&T has started offering the 8GB iPhone 3GS as a refurb for only $9. Usually, these types of price drops mean that a carrier is trying to get remaining units off the shelves, so we find it unlikely that the 3GS will be of any interest to Apple come this Fall.

You can visit AT&T’s online store to see the iPhone 3GS refurb priced at an astoundingly low price of $9. This is the lowest price we’ve ever seen for an iPhone. The purchase still requires the renewal of a two-year contract with AT&T. A 90-day warranty and 30-day trial period is offered for refurbished devices.

Apple has never been a company that holds on to old hardware for very long. The idea of the iPhone 3GS being Apple’s low-end device for the coming year just doesn’t make sense. As of this year, the 3GS is two year old mobile hardware.

It makes more sense that Apple is starting to phase out the 3GS, as is evidenced by this AT&T price drop. Most likely, the iPhone 4 will see a price drop to $99 next month. And there’s always the wildcard that Apple will introduce a 3G iPod touch. We’ll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, let us know if you decide to pick on of these refurb 3GS devices up from AT&T. Or are you holding off for the iPhone 5?

[Electronista]