Don't spring for the discounted iPhone 4S just yet

Taylor Martin
 from  Concord, NC
| August 23, 2012

When Apple took the stage just over a year ago and announced the Apple iPhone 4S, it's safe to say many of us were disappointed. It's not that the 4S is a bad device, by any means. But we all were expecting so much more from Apple, the iPhone 5 with a completely new design, larger display and an ultra slim, teardrop profile.

Over the course of 11 months, however, the iPhone 4S has only proven to be a solid entry from Apple. It may not be the gargantuan that its Android counterparts have grown to be, but it is a great device that has stood the test of time. While most Android or Windows Phone devices would have all but stopped selling nine or more months after their initial release, Apple's iPhone 4S is still going relatively steady. In Apple's Q3 2012 results that were released a month ago tomorrow, Apple revealed that it sold 26 million iPhones over the three-month period ending June 30, 2012. According to the report, that's a 28 percent growth over the same quarter last year.

Granted, these sales have likely slowed substantially over the last few weeks in anticipation of the next iPhone. But there are certainly still people who will willingly buy the iPhone 4S throughout the upcoming weeks despite Apple's press conference that is slated to take place on September 12th.

Wireless providers, third-party retailers as well as Apple are out to take advantage of anyone who will put up money for a new iPhone regardless of the time of year. For the last week or so, headlines have been filled with news of retailers slashing $50 off the contracted price of the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. Sprint has dropped the price of the 16GB iPhone 4S from $199 with a two-year agreement to just $149, and they're offering a $100 gift card to anyone who buys online. Apple is matching this deal with a $100 Apple Store gift card. Best Buy is "unloading" the iPhone 4 for just $50. And Walmart jumped on the bandwagon today, dropping the price of the iPhone 4S to $148 with a two-year agreement, down $40 from $188. These are just the first of many trying to move stock before the launch of the new iPhone.

And just to be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting the iPhone 4S – or even an iPhone 4 – so close to the launch of the new iPhone. We get it, not everyone wants or feels the need to have the latest and greatest gadgets. And there isn't a single thing wrong with that. But if a $50 discount is enough to sway you in the direction of an iPhone 4 or 4S now, you're likely one for immediate savings and, clearly, not against waiting for a nice discount. After all, you've waited 11 months already …

What's another two or three weeks?

If you take Apple's past five years as an example, they have a pretty solid track record of lowering the price of older model iDevices after the announcement of a new iDevice. For example, during the iPhone 4S announcement last year, Apple introduced an 8GB iPhone 4 model for just $99 and the 8GB iPhone 3GS from the prior year was dropped to free.

It's relatively safe to say the same will happen with the iPhone 4S. A new iPhone will be introduced, an 8GB iPhone 4S will be announced and made available for $99 and the 8GB iPhone 4 will become free.

Lest we forget, there will be a new iPhone announced. Who's to say it won't be sweet enough to make you splurge another $50? Its introductory price will likely be $199 with a two-year agreement. If you're willing to spend $150 on a year-old device, why not consider $200 for a brand spankin' new one? And what's a $50 saving over the course of two years anyway? (We've been over that before, and the immediate savings for a device you settled for usually won't outweigh having a device you will love.)

While you may come across some great deals on the iPhone 4 or 4S in the next two weeks, I recommend practicing a bit of patience. Who knows, you could score a sweeter deal after the new iPhone is announced. Or, if the new iPhone is significantly better and has some of the rumored features (like a larger display and LTE connectivity), you might find yourself being drawn towards the new model.

If you take the plunge now, there's no turning back. If you wait, at least you can see what the next model has to offer, and the deals will likely still be there if it's nothing too spectacular. I always recommend erring on the side of patient near the announcement of a new device.

Ultimately, it's up to you, though. What will it be, ladies and gents? Will you be springing for a discounted iPhone in the next few weeks? Or will you wait for the new iPhone? Is $50 off now worth the wait?

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