Apple is reportedly playing Santa this season, providing refurbished iDevices to good little geek boys and girls.
"We thought Apple might be testing the waters to sell refurbished products directly to customers through eBay, and it seems that's exactly what is happening," 9to5Mac said. "It is in trial, and it could open the door to much bigger things."
Neither Apple nor eBay immediately responded to a request for comment.
9to5Mac pointed to "telltale signs" of the Cupertino-based firm's direct involvement in the online store, saying that, much like the refurbished items Apple hocks on its site, the eBay offerings also include a full one-year warranty, new iPad/iPod batteries, a manual and the appropriate cables. They are also returned to like-new condition, receiving complete burn-in testing, and have the original operating system re-installed, and boast a final quality inspection by Apple.
However, the new eBay endeavour seems to be confined to the marketplace's US portal at the moment, though it's fair to assume that if it is deemed a success Apple will look to roll it out to international sites.
The pricing put forth by "refurbished_outlet" in the US is identical to that on the official Apple site, so if the retail experiment does make it over to the UK, expect to see deals like a refurbished 15in MacBook Pro featuring quad-core Intel i7 architecture for £1,399 - £400 less than the regular retail price.
Over in America, Apple is flogging the third-generation iPad, iPad 2, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and iPod touch (fourth generation), though supplies are limited (only one iPad 2 and two Air laptops available) and shipping is only available to Stateside locations. At press time, the company was in good standing, with 99.6 percent positive feedback.
Bargain hunting UK fanboys will also want to take note that Apple is running a special one-day shopping event at the end of the week (23 November) to herald the start of the Christmas retail bonanza - part of a US tradition known as Black Friday.