A third major retailer has now discounted iPhone prices, in anticipation of the next-generation iPhone expected to be announced in September. Target joined Best Buy and Sprint in slashing $50 from the iPhone price, while Apple is quietly matching these prices at its retail stores.
Target is now selling the iPhone 4S with two-year contracts on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon starting at $150 for the 16GB model. Meanwhile, Best Buy discounted the 8GB iPhone 4 to $50 (all carriers), but the iPhone 4S remains at its original $199.99 price tag.
Sprint was the first carrier to slash the iPhone 4S prices by $50 last week, making the 16GB iPhone 4S $150, $250 for a 32 GB model and $350 for a 64 GB model. Sprint also waived its $36 activation fee for online orders.
Apple also confirmed last week that its retail stores will match discounted iPhone prices from major retailers and carriers. The offer is not available online, it’s not advertised in stores, and you have to ask for the price match, quoting where you have seen the offer, in order to get the discount straight from Apple.
However, the fact that Apple is matching retailers’ iPhone discounts is a quiet confirmation from the company that it is indeed preparing to launch a new iPhone. It's expected the week of September 10, and perhaps on September 12.
The heavy speculation about a next-generation iPhone is probably responsible for slowing sales of the current model, which Apple confirms. If people are holding off on shopping until a new model arrives, no wonder Apple decided to match the discounted prices of its retail partners, even though such an admission is unusual for the company.
Apple is keeping details of the new iPhone under wraps, but information regarding its components has leaked out, indicating the phone will have a slightly bigger screen, a smaller dock connector, and possibly a unibody shell.