Apple's cut-price eBay store returns

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Apple’s mysterious eBay Store is out of the wilderness and back online selling iPhones at prices that undercut the company’s own online refurbished store and pre-empt a new iPhone launch in September.

It’s being reported by Apple Insider that the storefront, which first appeared in 2012, is back on eBay’s site and selling "Apple Certified" iPhone 5 devices in a range of specifications -- something even Apple’s official refurbished site isn’t doing.

Prices on the devices range from $449 for the 16GB model, $479 for the 32GB model and $499 for the 64GB model and all three configurations come in both black and white colors.

All iPhone 5 handsets are factory-unlocked for GSM networks and come with an Apple warranty as well as a number of new items including a lightning cable, USB charger, Apple EarPods and a manual.

Each pre-owned device has been returned to "like-new condition" with complete burn-in testing and has passed a final quality inspection by Apple technicians before being sent out.

Apple launching an eBay Store has all the hallmarks of a similar move made in March 2013 when it looked to sell off refurbished iPads at $100 less than Apple’s own refurbished store ahead of the new iPad’s launch a short time afterwards.

The storefront then disappeared without a trace before the 2013 iPad was launched and Apple Insider reports that it later found out it was part of an Apple three-month pilot program that wasn’t renewed.

Apple is expected to launch a new iPhone handset this September and most rumors point to it equipping the new smartphone with a larger display to enable it to challenge many of its Android rivals.

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