Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
If 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 WireFly.com
and LetsTalk.com. 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 ClarkHoward.com. Listen to his radio show live 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday on WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM.