Ahead of ‘iPhone 5,’ Apple matches discounts on iPhone 4, 4S, reports say

Apple has reportedly given the okay to its retail stores to price-match iPhones sold by other, authorized sellers. Citing an unnamed source, MacRumors reported Thursday that Apple stores will price-match the iPhone 4 to as low as $49.99 and the iPhone 4S to as low as $149.99, posting a document that says customers can ask for savings of nearly $50.

Those are the prices Sprint is currently offering in a promotion on the iPhone for a two-year contract. Sprint is also waiving the activation fee on the phones.

Macworld confirmed that it was able to get the price match at an Apple store after mentioning the price drop advertised at retailers such as Target, Radio Shack and Best Buy. But Computerworld surfaced a report from TechBuffalo’s Mark Hearn that not all stores in all regions appear to be honoring the deals.

Hearn confirmed two New York City Apple stores were honoring the price-matching deal, while three stores in California (one in Pasadena, two in the Los Angeles area) had never heard of the promotion.

“Apple Store locations are price-matching iPhones, but results might vary by location,” Hearn concluded.

Apple has been making moves to open up its older products to those looking for a deal on its products, but has rarely offered consumer discounts or price-match offers in the past. The move could help the company boost sales of the iPhone ahead of a rumored fall launch for a taller, thinner iPhone.

In its most recent earnings report, Apple said sales of the iPhone have dropped off, likely due to rumors and speculation about the phone many have dubbed the “iPhone 5.”

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said that speculation over Apple’s next big device may have hurt the sales of its current products, which grew at a slower rate than in previous quarters.

“There’s a lot of speculation out there,” Cook said. “It’s difficult to sort out. But I’m fairly convinced based on what I’ve seen that there’s an incredible amount of anticipation out there.”

Related stories:

Apple ‘iPhone 5’ rumors continue to fly

Apple, Amazon plug security holes: now what?

The Apple-Samsung case: Five juicy tidbits

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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