“Apple’s iPhone 5, available for pre-order on Sept. 14 and on sale Sept. 21, has a starting price of $199 for a 16GB model and a two-year contract via AT&T, Sprint or Verizon,” Kelli B. Grant writes for MarketWatch. ” As part of the launch, Apple dropped the price of the older iPhone 4S to $99 for a 16GB model and a new two-year contract with a carrier… The iPhone 4 will be free with a two-year contract.”

“Experts say that at the new lower price points, the 4S is a pretty good deal. ‘It’s still a very, very good phone,’ says Eddie Hold, a vice president for market research firm NPD Group. Apple’s forthcoming operating system, iOS 6, will also be available to 4S owners as a free upgrade—and should help them keep up with many of the new features, including the updated iTunes, the new Passbook service for storing loyalty card sand ticket bar codes, the enhanced Safari browser and the smarter Siri,” Grant writes. “Make no mistake: The iPhone 5 is a substantial upgrade, and there are a fair number of features that 4S buyers would be missing out on. The 5 boasts more processing power, supports speedier 4G LTE data networks, has longer battery life and comes with a better camera that shoots 1080p video with the rear-facing camera and 720p video on the front-facing camera. With competitors rolling out bigger phones, the larger screen alone—4 inches instead of the 3.5 inches on older models—makes the new iPhone a ‘must-have product,’ says Hold.”

Grant writes, “Consumers will need to weigh their budgets against the advancements, says Schwark Satyavolu, co-founder of plan-comparison site BillShrink.com.”

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