Apple iPhone 4S price drop suggests new iPhone imminent


(CBS News) Apple fans waiting for the next iPhone may see a new smartphone soon.

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AllThingsD noticed two price drops that suggest some truth to the rumored September 12 Apple event. Target has dropped the price of the iPhone 4S to $179 and Best Buy has dropped the price of the eight gigabyte iPhone 4 to $49.

Several clues to the next iPhone release have surfaced over the summer. Recently, Sharp president Takashi Okuda said screens for the iPhone 5 start shipping in August.

According to a report from Reuters, citing a source close to the matter, the iPhone 5's screen will go from 3.5 inches to 4 inches.

Rumors of a September 12 Apple event began circulating in July, when the blog iMore reported that Apple will announce two products on that date.

Citing "sources who have proven accurate in the past," the blog reported that Apple may announce an iPhone 5 and iPad mini. According to iMore, the iPhone 5 will go on sale on September 21.

Last year, the iPhone 4S missed its typical summer release schedule and was instead announced on October 4 and available on October 14.

This year, another product has been rumored to debut - an Apple iPad mini. Rumors of a 7-inch iPad persist even after it was not introduced at the most recent iPad launch.

Previously, the Chinese blog NetEase reported that Apple has placed an order for an iPad mini. According to the report, 6 million units have been ordered for release in the third quarter. The smaller tablet is estimated to retail anywhere from $249 to $299.

In March, DigiTimesreported that "makers" in Apple's supply chain have started "delivering samples of a 7.85-inch iPads for verification." Weeks later, a report from the Korea Times cited an unnamed Samsung official that corroborated previous reports of a 7.85-inch tablet.