Clark Howard: IPhone 5’s release helps cut phone prices

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

ClarkHowardIf you don’t mind not having state-of-the-art technology, there’s a way for you to save big bucks on a smartphone.

We’re close to Apple’s rollout of the iPhone 5. That’s already been sucking life out of the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S market, causing prices to drop at retail.

Sprint has discounted the iPhone 4S (with contract) by $50, and Apple is matching that price at their stores. But you can expect prices to trend downward on both fourth-generation models big-time in the next few months.

It’s the same pattern each time Apple rolls out new technology; everybody fawns over the latest model and the old model gets sold on discount.

For example, when the iPad 3 came out, the previous iteration was marked down to $359 — instead of $499 for a new iPad 3.

Apple products depreciate faster than normal for electronics. Their customers want the latest and greatest, so the last generation gets really cheap. So if you’re tempted and don’t need the latest and greatest, why not wait several weeks and buy last generation on the cheap?

A friend bought the last generation of the MacBook Air for $799. There wasn’t much difference between it and the entry-level model of the new version that sells for $999. Except he saved $200.

On the Android side of the equation, it works differently. There are now several websites competing to sell you Androids cheaper than the cellphone companies. These include
and In addition, Amazon is getting aggressive in this market and may sell you an Android at half price compared to the cell phone company.

If you’ll wait one month after a new model is introduced, that’s when you’re likely to get a cheaper price no matter where you shop.

-by Clark Howard, Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs

Find more answers to your consumer questions at Listen to his radio show live 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday on WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM.

6 comments Add your comment

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reggie miller

August 30th, 2012
5:01 am

I wish to by a iPhone or android and send it to a relative who lives in the Philippines. Will they be able to get it turned on and use it on a service provider over there and what would be the cheapest method? Also they live in a very remote part of the Philippines and there is no internet there , is there anything out there that i can get and send to them as to allow them to have internet there to communicate with me here in the USA via phone or computer or any kind of device that can be used deep in the Philippines jungle?

Bonnie Joy

August 30th, 2012
5:29 am

Reggie, You have to unlock the phone in order for your relative to be able to use another carrier. If there is cell phone coverage, he can use whatever network is available but again, you will have to get the iphone unlocked. You can either buy an unlocked phone from ATT/Apple (very expensive) or find one already unlocked on Craigslist, OR buy a new one and find someone (on Craigslist) who unlocks them. I did just that when my daughter was overseas- found someone on Craigslist advertising that he unlocks iphones. It cost me $40. But you have to trust the person, they need to be a “techie.” Good luck!

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August 30th, 2012
9:12 am

Reggie , no one is going to help you communicate with your terrorist cell.
Bonnie you are a traitor to the American people.

The Reverend Baby Doctor Bedpan

August 30th, 2012
12:00 pm

Why would anyone want an iPhone?…..Other than to be trendy like the rest of their trendy friends.