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The worst kept secret in the technology world is that Apple is going to announce the newest iPhone at a press event next month. In addition to the debut of the iPhone 5 (or whatever it'll be called; remember how we all expected the iPhone 5 last year, but got the "4S" instead, or when we were gearing up for the iPad 3, but were introduced instead to "the new iPad"?), the Apple rumor mill is buzzing that the manufacturer will also announce a 7"-ish "iPad Mini." While iPad events traditionally take place early in the calendar year, it stands to reason that this bite-sized iPad would be a whole new product line that Cupertino would want under as many Christmas trees as possible in order to compete in the exploding mini-tablet market comprised of the Nooks, Nexuses, and Fires.
But iPad-light announcement or not, it's a sure bet that the September 12 event will unveil the newest iPhone as (1) Apple has maintained a reliable schedule of releasing new iPhones each fall, and (2) we're already beginning to see discounts on the soon-to-be demoted 4S.
Last week, Sprint sliced the price on their line of 4S phones by $50. If you sign up for a 2-year contract through their site, you can pick up the 16GB 4S for $150, the 32GB for $250, or the 64GB for $350. (All are available in black or white and include free shipping and activation.) Then this week, Target announced that its Target Mobile stores will additionally offer AT&T and Verizon iPhones starting at $150. Moreover, Best Buy discounted the 8GB iPhone 4 to just $50 several weeks ago.
According to Mac Rumors, Apple has given the official go-ahead for Apple retail stores to match these price cuts on the 4S, but only if consumers specifically mention it. To verify the legitimacy of this report, we contacted Apple's online store by both phone and website chat and were told by both representatives that they, in fact, wouldn't match Sprint's discount.
However, we then reached out to three physical Apple Stores in New York City, and were told by two (the SoHo and West 14th Street stores) that they would indeed match the 4S discounts as long as customers mention it first. A representative at the Apple Store at Grand Central however said they would not match them, as all prices were "set in stone."
So, it appears that the Sprint-instigated price-cut to the iPhone 4S is available at some Apple stores; you just might want to call ahead to make sure. Also keep in mind that most price-match policies entail bringing proof of a lower price when making your purchase. While Apple is well aware of these new discounts, it's best to come prepared just in case.
But despite this price-cutting frenzy, the bottom line is that it's probably smart to wait another month before picking up a new iPhone of any sort. Not only might the iPhone 5 provide something you absolutely positively need to have in your pocket, but there's a very good chance that this bevy of iPhone discounts will only get better in the very near future.
Update: Sprint is now offering a $100 American Express Reward Card with the purchase of an Apple iPhone 4S 16GB Phone for $149.99, making for the best deal we've seen for a new iPhone 4S 16GB on any carrier. That said, it's very unlikely that Apple will top this offer in-store.
Front page photo credit: Elite Daily