Dad always said that you'll never get anything you don't ask for, and that maxim is now proving true at the Apple store.
Apple stores are now matching the $50 discount that Sprint is currently offering on all models of the iPhone, dropping the price of the iPhone 4S to $150 when you sign a two-year contract. This is not an advertised or official deal: You can only get the discount if you specifically mention the Sprint sale, at which point an Apple store employee should price match. (We called an Apple Store here in New York and the representative did, indeed, confirm the price-matching policy).
The discount for the iPhone 4S was first reported by MacRumors and comes, of course, as the world awaits the apparently imminent arrival of the next-generation iPhone, or the so-called "iPhone 5." Apple seems all but certain to announce its new iPhone in mid-September, according to multiple leaks from several reputable newspapers. Historically, iPhone sales have decreased as Apple nears the release of a new model, as customers await the faster, perhaps redesigned iPhone.
The incessant whispers of fancy new iPhones on the horizon have hurt Apple in the past: Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer recently blamed the rumor mill for slumping iPhone sales in July, echoing a similar complaint from CEO Tim Cook in October 2011. Price-matching iPhone discounts may be part of Apple's method to boost flagging sales, as much of the electronics-buying world breathlessly delays their purchase for the iPhone 5.
Can a $50 discount on the price of the phone lure would-be hold-outs and make them forget that a new iPhone is coming in a month or so? Probably not. Given that the iPhone 4S is likely to cost $100 on contract once the next iPhone is announced -- rather than the only-if-you-ask-for-it $150 -- it's better to wait if you can.
If you cannot wait, however, go ahead and save yourself $50 on a Sprint iPhone. The price cut is apparently good for all models: A 32GB iPhone 4S drops to $250, a 64GB iPhone 4S drops to $350, and the iPhone 4 goes all the way down to $50. Unfortunately, if you opt for the iPhone 3GS -- currently free with a two-year contract -- Apple will not give you a $50 bill plus a complimentary iPhone. Nice try, though.
Yes, The Next iPhone Will Be Announced On September 12
This past week, the following publications of high repute reported that an unnamed source had confirmed that Apple would introduce a new iPhone on September 12: <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-30/apple-said-to-prepare-iphone-redesign-for-sept-12-introduction.html" target="_hplink">Bloomberg</a>, <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/31/us-apple-iphone-idUSBRE86U04A20120731" target="_hplink">Reuters</a>, <a href="http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/apple-event-is-set-for-september/" target="_hplink">the <em>New York Times</em></a>, <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2012/7/30/3204810/next-apple-iphone-5-event-date-rumor-september-12" target="_hplink">The Verge</a>, <a href="http://www.loopinsight.com/2012/07/30/apples-rumored-september-12-event/" target="_hplink">The Loop</a>, <a href="http://allthingsd.com/20120730/apple-stocks-up-on-components-for-fall-product-launch/" target="_hplink">AllThingsD</a>, <a href="http://www.imore.com/apple-iphone-5-and-ipad-mini-event-planned-september-12-iphone-5-release-date-september-21" target="_hplink">iMore</a>. If you don't think these "unnamed sources" are just Apple PR representatives directly calling up reporters at favored publications, supplying them with information, and instructing them not to cite Apple as the source of said information -- well, then you won't believe <a href="http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081130223127AAb0lQ5" target="_hplink">what common adjective they left out of the Oxford English Dictionary</a>. Yes, an iPhone event is happening the week of September 9; and yes, Apple is going to introduce a new iPhone; and yes, it's likely that the new phone will be out the following week (iMore, <a href="http://www.imore.com/ipad-3-announcement-march-7-quadcore-4g-lte" target="_hplink">who was first to nail the <em>iPad 3</em> new iPad's release date this past February</a>, says it'll be September 21; based on past precedent, that seems reasonable). So, yeah, September 12, big Apple event, mark your "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Camo-2010-Calendar-Reel/dp/0979443172/r?tag=oddee-20" target="_hplink">Sexy Ladies Wearing Camo Holding Guns</a>" calendar. And what, oh what, do we expect to get from this new iPhone (aside from a false sense of fulfillment and superiority over our peers, obviously)? Let's check the latest from the Apple rumor-dome.
The Latest On iPhone 5 Specs And Details
Okay, so: September 21 for the new iPhone (probably). What's it going to look like? Well: All the old rumors are still in play -- the smaller dock connector, the headphone jack on the bottom of the phone, the larger 4.0-inch screen. One website claimed to have gotten its hands on the front glass display and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb3003GIPk0&feature=player_embedded" target="_hplink">showed it off in a YouTube video</a>. That picture you're looking at is the 'iPhone 5' compared with the iPhone 4s. So, yeah, it would be taller, but about the same width (and we're also expecting it to be thinner, too). <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyOqeDfJueM&feature=player_embedded#!" target="_hplink">There was also this short video</a>, from Macotakara, which purports to show the housing for the next iPhone. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyOqeDfJueM&feature=player_embedded#!" target="_hplink">You can watch it here</a>, and note the new dock connector, headphone jack, device size, etc.
Did A Rogue iPhone 5 Pop Up In Thailand?
Well, sa wat dii khrap, little (Tha)iPhone! An ex-employee of the tech site Neowin was strolling through the MBK Centre mall in downtown Bangkok when he (or she) got his (or her) hands on what appears to be a next-generation iPhone. Neowin <a href="http://www.neowin.net/news/eyes-on-with-the-iphone-5-sort-of" target="_hplink">has all the photos its former contributor took here</a>, who says that the device in the photos is a -- and I quote -- "<a href="http://www.neowin.net/news/eyes-on-with-the-iphone-5-sort-of" target="_hplink">non functional replica prototype</a>." He would have talked more about the phone, but apparently he was tongue-Thai'ed. Anyway, the gadget in the pictures sure looks like what we've been told the iPhone 5 will look like, though: About the same height, and it's got the smaller dock connector and hole for your headphones on the bottom of the device. Not sure how this iPhone fell off the back of the truck, but next time the factory should Thai it down more securely. (I'm done. Until next time: Sa wat dii khrap!)
Reputable iLounge Writer Dumps A Bunch Of Info About iPhone 5, iPad Mini, New iPods
iLounge's Jeremy Horwitz is one of those Apple insiders, like Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, that seems to have really solid information when it comes to upcoming Apple releases. This week, he produced two reports, one about the size of that changed dock connector (it could be even smaller than many outlets have reported) and a second <a href="http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/backstage/comments/new-details-on-apples-next-iphone-ipods-ipad-mini-ipad-4th-gen-cases/" target="_hplink">with SEVEN different rumors he's received from his mysterious sources</a>. In short: Horwitz thinks the new iPhone will arrive in mid-September, with two new Apple-made cases; that at the same time, we'll also get an updated iPod Touch (but no iPod Nano); and that two new iPads -- a Mini, and a refreshed iPad with the smaller dock connector -- could be out by the end of the year, too. It is more likely, Horwitz surmises, that the iPad Mini and <em>iPad 4</em> new iPad will be out in early 2013. That is but a taste of what Horwitz offers in his latest; <a href="http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/backstage/comments/new-details-on-apples-next-iphone-ipods-ipad-mini-ipad-4th-gen-cases/" target="_hplink">read his entire report on Apple's future gear here</a>.
Could The iPad Mini Be Coming In September, Too?
Here's the debate of the week: Will Apple release the "iPad Mini" -- an eternally-rumored smaller, 7.85-inch version of its 9.6-inch iPad -- at the same time as the "iPhone 5," or will it hold off for a separate event, either just before Christmas or in early 2013 along with the next iPad? We've heard all of those possibilities in the past week. iMore, who first broke the September 12 announcement date for the next iPhone, reported that Apple would unveil the teensier iPad along with the iPhone on that date; RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani <a href="http://www.bgr.com/2012/08/02/ipad-mini-release-date-rumor-rbc/" target="_hplink">agreed in a note to investors this week</a>. Writes Daryanani, as<a href="http://www.bgr.com/2012/08/02/ipad-mini-release-date-rumor-rbc/" target="_hplink"> quoted in Boy Genius Report</a>: <blockquote>[S]upply-chain checks suggests we will have more than just a iPhone-5 launch. While its unclear if the additional product is an iPad refresh or a 'mini iPad', we do believe AAPL may look to leverage the price elasticity of the nascent tablet market by having a ~$300 device. </blockquote> Not everyone is convinced that Apple would introduce the iPad Mini and the iPhone 5 on the same day, though, as <a href="http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/backstage/comments/new-details-on-apples-next-iphone-ipods-ipad-mini-ipad-4th-gen-cases/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter" target="_hplink">Horwitz wrote that</a> while Apple's smaller iPad will be ready by November, the company might decide to hold off until 2013 and unveil it along with the <strike>iPad 4</strike> new iPad in February or March. That would, of course, give more time for 7-inch tablets like the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire to entrench themselves. Sooner might be smarter, in this case, especially with dozens of Windows 8 tablets likely due this winter, too.
Could Your Next iPad Cover Have A Display Of Its Own?
And finally, we end on a wacky Apple patent: The U.S. Patent Office granted this gem to Apple last week, showing that Apple is working on a Smart Cover for the iPad that would have a small display of its own -- one that could work as a virtual keyboard, for example, or secondary controls for a movie or TV show, or just extra room for whatever's on the tablet's screen. The display could also act as a charger, as it would be lined with solar panels, as seen in the design at left. Patently Apple, which covers Apple patents, <a href="http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2012/08/apple-invents-mind-boggling-next-generation-smart-cover-with-multi-touch-flexible-display-solar-panels-built-in-keyboard.html" target="_hplink">has a bunch more at its website</a> on this so-called "interactive Smart Cover." Neat stuff, though probably not super close to being unveiled. That's all for <strong>This Week In Apple Rumors</strong>. Make sure you check back next week, when all of our rumors will be written completely in Thai; and remember, if you can't wait a whole week for your crop of Apple rumors, you can get up-to-the-minute Apple rumors by <a href="http://twitter.com/gilbertjasono" target="_hplink">following me on Twitter right here</a>.