by Bill Snyder

How to Get a Brand New iPhone 5c for Less Than $1

Aug 22, 2014 2 mins
Consumer Electronics iOS iPhone

Apple is about to unveil a new iPhone, and retailers are clearing the shelves. As a result, last year's iPhones have never been cheaper.

Here’s a deal that’s NOT too good to be true: Walmart is selling Apple’s iPhone 5c for less than one dollar – 97 cents, to be exact. No other retailer has matched that price, but other major chains are also offering very good deals on the colorful phones.

If you don’t mind being a step or two behind Apple’s innovation machine, this is a great time to buy the 5c or the more expensive (but also discounted) iPhone 5s. There is a catch, of course. The deal requires you to sign a two-year contract with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or U.S. Cellular. (T-Mobile customers are out of luck.)

You don’t need an MBA to understand what’s going on here. It’s quite likely that Apple will launch its next generation smartphone – let’s call it the “iPhone 6” – in September, so retailers are moving fast to clear old inventory. “Old” is, of course, is a relative term, and we’re talking about the iPhone 5c, which was released last September.

Despite the upcoming launch, Apple’s prices are still rather high: The 16GB version of the iPhone 5c is $99; the iPhone 5s is $199. Both require a contract with a wireless carrier.

Here are the details on deals at Walmart, Target and Best Buy.

At Walmart, the 16GB iPhone 5c is available in all colors for just 97 cents. The iPhone 5s sells for $79, a price cut of $20. These deals are not available online; you’ve got to go to a Walmart store. The company says supplies are limited, so I wouldn’t wait too long.

At Target, the 16GB iPhone 5c sells for $29.99, and like Walmart, Target says you must buy it in the store. You also need to sign up for a two-year contract with AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. The iPhone 5s sells for $99.99.

Best Buy is selling the iPhone 5c for $49.99 – but only for use on Sprint’s network. If you want to use AT&T or Verizon, the 16GB iPhone 5c costs $99.99.