iPhone 5 release date: Apple (AAPL) rumored September 12 release date causing phone sales to drop

According to a report from Gartner .com, anticipation for the iPhone 5 may be reducing cell phone sales worldwide.

The upcoming rumored iPhone 5 release and the bad economy are apparently causing people to hold off on buying new phones, Examiner.com reports.

Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner said: "The challenging economic environment and users postponing upgrades to take advantage of high-profile device launches"

Pre-sales for the iPhone 5 will begin Sept. 12, the same day Apple is expected to announce the new device, according to an latimes.com report.

According to the new report, there will hardly be any gap between the iPhone 5's announcement and its start of pre-orders.

With the anticipated Apple announcement of the next iPhone, retailers are slashing prices on previous models.

Target's retail price for the iPhone 4S was starting at $150 for the 16GB model with two-year contracts on Verizon, AT&T or Sprint, according to PC World Magazine. However, the offer did not appear to be available on Target's website Monday afternoon.

Sprint was the first to slash the price of the 4S by $50 last week. The carrier priced the 4S model at $150 with a new, two-year contract. Sprint also waived its activation fee for online purchases.

Best Buy began pricing the iPhone 4, 8GB model at $50 with a new contract just a few days earlier. The offer still stood on its website Monday afternoon.

Apple was reportedly quietly matching the $150 price at is retail stores, but customers have to ask for the discount because it was not openly advertised, according to PC World Magazine .

Heavy speculation about the next-generation iPhone has the smartphone world abuzz. Apple has an event planned for the week of September 10.

A September debut would be ahead of Apple's previous release schedule of once per year, except for the 4S, which was not released until 16 months after the iPhone 4.

Details of the expected new phone, including its name, have not been released. Several reports state the new phone will have a slightly larger screen and a smaller dock connector.

Newsnet5.com contributed to this report.

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