With some analysts questioning the strength of iPhone 5 sales, Walmart is offering the steepest discounts yet on Apple\u2019s latest iPhone. The giant retailer will sell the 16GB version of the phone for $127, $72 less than Apple\u2019s price of $199. Walmart also announced a price cut on the iPhone 4S, selling the older model for $47, a discount of nearly 50 percent over the price offered by Apple or the major carriers.\n\tWalmart\u2019s move follows an announcement by Best Buy that it will discount the iPhone 5 and IPhone 4S by $50 on comparable models until January 5. (A smaller Radio Shack discount has apparently expired.)\n\tNormally I\u2019d give you the details of Walmart\u2019s offer, but the company says it won\u2019t release details on the Web; you\u2019ll have to come to the store to find out. One thing is clear -- the offer only holds if you\u2019re willing to sign the standard two-year contract with one of the major carriers.\n\tAlthough Best Buy is advertising the discounted phones online, you have to come into the store to buy them. It\u2019s likely that Best Buy and Walmart are figuring that consumers are more likely to pad the purchases with accessories or other items if they are in the store.\n\tAnnoyingly, Best Buy\u2019s Web site is doing the company (and consumers) a disservice. If you search for an iPhone 5, you\u2019ll find plenty of stores that have it. But if you search for the discounted iPhone 4S, the Web site indicates that the phones are out of stock in many cities, including San Francisco, San Jose, Portland and parts of Chicago. It turns out, though, that the Web site is wrong, something I found out by contacting a spokesman for the company and visiting a store here in San Francisco.\n\tThe store, perched on the edge of the city\u2019s Mission District, had iPhone 5s on hand, plus a number of AT&T and Verizon versions of the iPhone 4S that the Web site said were not available at that location. Not surprisingly for an evening this close to Christmas, the store was crowded and there was a long, slow-moving line at the smartphone service counter. I did not envy those blue-shirted clerks their jobs.\n\tAffordable Holiday Gifts for Geeks\n\tSomething is going on with iPhone 5 sales. While we won\u2019t have any definite word until the next time Apple reports its quarterly revenue, a number of analysts believe sales are disappointing. Maybe it\u2019s because of all the competition from Android; maybe some buyers think an iPhone 5S is around the corner. Or maybe it\u2019s simply not true. But this is the first time that an iPhone has been discounted so quickly after its introduction.\n\tMy advice: Keep a sharp eye out for sales. I\u2019ll certainly let you know any I hear about. It\u2019s even possible, but not too likely, that Apple itself will respond by doing some discounting of its own. Hitting the stores this time of year isn\u2019t all that much fun, but if you want that discount, you\u2019ll have to grin and bear it.