Apple is clearly in inventory clearance mode with the iPhone 5 at this point. Just a few hours ago, we reported that Walmart would be carrying the iPhone 5 for $129 with a two year plan. That’s not a promotion, that’s the new in-store price. Earlier yesterday, Virgin Mobile a pre-paid subsidiary of Sprint announced it would be carrying the iPhone for $549 unsubsidized – which is $100 off of retail. Add Best Buy’s “Free iPhone 5 with earlier iPhone Trade in promotion” and you start to see a pattern.
As noted by 9to5Toys this morning, AT&T started a 50% off promotion off of smartphones across the board which isn’t really newsworthy because Android/Windows/Blackberry phones go half off all the time. But this time, the sale includes the iPhone 5, which now comes in at an all time low of $99.99 (free shipping/activation, price drops in cart) with a 2 year plan. Also, iPhone 4S prices drop to $50 but we’d recommend buyers dropping a little extra on the iPhone 5.
Verizon is also expected to have a $100 iPhone promotion though we haven’t yet heard word on that, just yet.
The bigger picture is that, as it does every year, Apple is clearly trying to move iPhones late in the cycle to clear inventory for the next iPhone, likely called the 5S.