NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- The Apple Store is reportedly price-matching cell phone carriers and retailers now offering a $50 discount on the iPhone 4S.
Don't be tempted.
The same thing happens every year: Just before a new iPhone or iPad is about to launch, a couple of retailers will start offering small discounts on the current generation of the gadget.
And why not? Most savvy shoppers know when the next generation is right around the corner, so they're inclined to play the waiting game, and that means a sales slowdown. And when there is a sales slowdown, retailers are willing to slash prices to move product. Earlier this year, for instance, Meijer offered a $70 discount on the iPad 2 a month before the new iPad came out.
Now that the new iPhone is upon us, we're seeing the same thing. But this time around it seems to be happening a little earlier than usual, and even the Apple Store is getting into the game. As MainStreet sister publication TheStreet reported late yesterday, Sprint and Best Buy have started offering the 16 GB version of the iPhone for $149.99, a $50 discount, and Apple Store locations have expressed a willingness to match that price. That means a 25% discount on the current iPhone before Apple has acknowledged that a new iPhone is even in the pipeline.
We don't know for sure when the new model is coming out. We don't know for sure what it's going to look like. But the rumors are coalescing around a number of points. First, you're likely to see a full makeover -- unlike the iPhone 4S, which turned out to be the same body as the iPhone 4 but with souped-up guts. That makeover is likely to include a larger screen as Apple finally catches up to the larger screen size offered by the likes of Samsung and other Android phone manufacturers. It's also likely to have faster 4G LTE data speeds, and may also support mobile payments.