The good news: you can get an iPhone 5S or 5C for cheaper than ever. The bad news: it may be obsolete by the time you’ve broken it in. The iPhone 6 release date, which could be revealed as soon as the WWDC keynote next Monday, is driving price cuts for existing iPhone models. Apple is still officially listing the 5S starting at $199 and the 5C starting at $99, but those price tags are almost a formality at this point. Radio Shack has begun offering the 5S off and on for as little as $99, while the 5C has been spotted at some Wal-Mart retail locations for as little as $19. And yet the impending iPhone 6 release date means those may still be bad deals.
The arrival of the iPhone 6 will also come with a reshuffling of the rest of Apple’s iPhone lineup. Look for the modestly popular iPhone 5C to be retired, and the far more popular iPhone 5S to be retained as a budget model. But with Apple giving the flagship $199 iPhone 6 a larger size than any previous model, it may also offer a four inch iPhone 6 (or “iPhone 6C” variant) at $99. That means the existing 5S could be slotted in as the free-with-contract model. That makes it currently overpriced, even with the $99 deals. But it’s also a waiting game as the iPhone 6 release date approaches.
Apple will drop major hints as to the launch timeframe of the iPhone 6 on Monday. The progress it shows off with regard to iOS 8 development will be the biggest clue of all. Don’t look for the iPhone 6 release date to come any sooner than at least a month after WWDC, and possibly as much as three months, depending on how much software development remains. Those who are already upgrade-eligible and eyeing a new iPhone will ultimately have to decide whether they want to wait that long for what comes next, or settle for a discounted iPhone 5C/5S now.