This is huge!

At last, someone at Apple finally tuned into CNBC (or better yet, spent some quality time on Main Street listening to real people).

Apple kicked off it's Worldwide Developer's Conference in San Francisco this week with something we've all needed for a long time; lower prices!

Who cares about the next bling bling version of the iPhone; all 32g's of it. Apple is going to keep it's 8g iPhone on the market for an entry level price of $99.

This is huge and not just in the iPhone sense. This will have huge ramifications on the smartphone market.

1. A lot more people will be buying iPhones. A lot of businesses will likely now make the $99 iPhone standard issue with employees.

2. Executives at Palm had two wonderful days since the launch of the Pre on Saturday. Then Black Monday happened. So much for that $199 Palm Pre. Executives at RIM (Blackberry's parent company) are likely popping the Tylenols right about now, as well. Perhaps the next Blackberry should be the Blackberry Curb (as in curb the price below a hundred bucks).

Bottomline: all the other players in the smartphone space are going to have to go sub-$100 to compete. This means smartphones almost overnight are going to be an affordable alternative.

Lingering questions:

1. What will this mean for the meteoric rise of the netbook?

2. What happens when that AT&T exclusivity deal with the iPhone expires? (It can't happen soon enough!)

3. With the first smartphone hitting below $100, will a more stripped down service plan be next?

Stay tuned...

p.s. Apple also lowered the price on its MacBooks. I'm less excited about that. Yes, it's about a 15% price cut. But the cheapest MacBook is still more than a thousand dollars. I remember covering the first sub-$1000 PC notebook back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.