$127 for iPhone 5 at WalMart, $149 at Best Buy, Target, Radio Shack

In my post last Saturday I noted discounts from AT&T and WalMart for the iPad and iPhone, and I wanted to higlight those prices again. WalMart is offering the amazing deal of an iPhone 5 for $127 with a 2-year contract. The 30-day promotion began last Friday. You can read more on MacRumors. Note, though, that this offer is only available in stores, and apparently only available at WalMart Supercenters. All Things D reports checking a number of stores and finding inventories and pricing of the phones to be quite inconsistent. So you may want to call the store before heading to your local WalMart. All Things D said that WalMart's discount is being offered with Apple's blessing. And they suggested that if you're unable to find a store with phones at the discounted price, you could try getting Target or Best Buy to match the price, since they've said that they'll match any competitor's price.

It's not just WalMart that's offering great deals on the iPhone 5 this holiday season. The MacRumors post says that Radio Shack is offering $50 off all iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S models. Plus, for every $50 you spend, they'll give you a $10 credit on future purchases. Apparently, Target is offering the same deal. According to iMore, Best Buy is also offering $50 off all iPhone 5 models. And if you're a member of their rewards club, buying a phone will earn 5,000 points, which is the equivalent of a $100 gift card.

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So if you're buying an iPhone 5 this holiday season, you ought to be able to find one starting at $149 at the most, and possibly cheaper.

WalMart is also offering the iPad with retina display (third generation) for $399. That's the model that came out in March and that was replaced in late September by the fourth generation iPad with the new Lightning connector. I and other bloggers incorrectly reported that the device being sold for $399 was the fourth generation iPad. Also, note that starting today, if you buy the discounted third generation iPad, WalMart will throw in a $30 gift card.

What does it all mean? Some blogs are speculating that iPhone 5 sales are slow, and that retailers are discounting it to move it more quickly. This seems unlikely to me. Most reports say that it has continued to sell well since its launch in late September. My feeling is that it's more likely that, knowing it's a popular item, these stores are discounting it to get more customers coming through their doors. And once one store offers a deep discount, the others feel obliged to follow suit.

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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.