It’s a great time to buy an iPhone

While supplies last.

The newest Apple gadgets and gear won’t come out for another month -- at least according to rumors -- but with retailers slashing prices in anticipation of the Apple iPhone 5 and a smaller iPad, it's a bargain to jump on the Apple bandwagon today.

Sprint has already dropped the price of the iPhone 4S (16GB) from $199 to $149 and is now offering a $100 gift card for those ordering online. Apple is promising to match that offer in the form of Apple Store credit. Wal-Mart, too, is shaving $40 off the flagship phone to $148.


Not to be outdone, Best Buy is now offering the iPhone 4 (8GB) for just $50, a savings of 50 percent (Apple, as of this writing is still selling the phone on its website for $99).

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All of these deals require a two-year contract.

With the much ballyhooed iPhone 5’s launch just around the corner, retailers are eager to liquidate old inventory with this latest spurt of price cuts. For those looking to dabble with the Apple ecosystem on the cheap, now could be the perfect time to join the party.

On the other hand, maybe it's not.

With the launch of the new iPhone, prices could be slashed even further, according to analyst Sascha Segan. “Even if you don't want the new iPhone model, you should still wait,” Segan wrote. “For the past few years when a new iPhone has come out, the new model was priced at $199 and the previous model's two-year-contract price dropped to $99.”

So if saving is your modus operandi, it might be a good idea to wait. Still, in the world of technology, change happens quickly. There’s always a new update, a new model, a new sale to wait for. If you did pull the trigger now, you certainly wouldn’t be alone. In the third quarter of 2011, AT&T and Verizon sold nearly 5 million iPhones, in spite of the impending release of the 4S.

But then again, if you’ve already waited this long, what’s another month?