Apple Inc. (AAPL) Retail Stores to Offer iPhone Discounts

With the impending release of iPhone 5 by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), several wireless carriers and retail stores that offer older version of the iPhone are cutting prices to clear inventory and shelf space for the latest and greatest iPhone. It turns out, Apple is apparently showing a willingness to do the same in its proprietary retail stores.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Word is that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is telling its sales associates in Apple Stores to offer discounts on iPhone 4 and 4S models of up to $49 when customers mention lower prices at other retailers and wireless carriers like Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT), Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) and Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S), according to sources familiar with the directive. However, the company did not tell its associates why it’s offering the discounts, and the company is not advertising the discounts or any discounted prices.

This move is rather unusual for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in that it has not historically offered discounted prices prior to a new version of a device being introduced to the market – other than its traditional education or corporate discounts. Apple may be looking to open up its inventory while also move some phones prior to the release of iPhone 5. For just the second time in 39 quarters, Apple missed analyst’s expectations in its most recent quarterly earnings report, and the miss was blamed on slow iPhone sales in anticipation of the new iPhone and pending iPad “mini.”

With Apple Stores likely also needing to move some inventory – and with iPhone sales lagging as they are, why not? – just like their retail partners like Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT), Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) and Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S), this might be a good time for those who have been on the sidelines, to at least get into the smartphone culture and give the iPhone a test drive before the new version comes out. In the meantime, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) likely understands that it might need to move more inventory before the i5 launch to ensure the company doesn’t have a second straight quarterly miss.