Is This EVIDENCE Apple’s iPhone 5 is Just Around the Corner?

After reports that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was secretly approving discounts on existing models of the iPhone at its retail stores, several external sellers are joining the trend. Target (NYSE:TGT) and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) are the latest to drop prices of the iPhone 4 and 4S, increasingly lending credence to the speculation that the move is designed to clear stock ahead of the launch of a new version of the device.

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Target is selling the 16GB version of the AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) iPhone 4S for $179 with a two-year contract, according to AllThingsD, while Best Buy has cut the price of the 8GB iPhone 4 from $99 to $49.99. The discounts follow a report that Apple instructed its retail store sales executives to match discounts offered by other authorized sellers. AT&T and Verizon rival Sprint (NYSE:S) was the first to offer the cuts when it dropped the price of its 16GB iPhone 4S models to $149 while waiving activation fees for the handset when ordered online.

The increasing number of sellers offering discounts has pointed to the idea that existing iPhone models are being phased out to presumably make way the launch of the next iPhone by Apple. Rumors have pointed to a September 12 media event planned by Apple as the likely date when the sixth generation of the company’s ultra-successful smartphone is announced. Apple is already scheduled to release the new version of its mobile operating system, iOS 6, for public use this fall.

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