Don’t buy the 97-cent iPhone

Patience, grasshopper.
Patience, grasshopper.
Image: AP Photo/Steve Helber
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Perhaps you’ve heard: Walmart has “slashed” Apple’s iPhone 5C down to $0.97, Mashable reports, down from its previous price of $29.

Don’t buy it.

Why not? Unless you absolutely need a new iPhone right now—or you are completely set on an iPhone 5C, with its colored plastic casing—it’s worth waiting a few weeks.

Apple is expected to unveil its new iPhones on Sept. 9, and they are likely to go on sale 10 days later, on Sept. 19. If things go as in years past, prices for all the available models of the iPhone will shift down a rung, which means the 5C would be free. And the superior 5S could become pretty cheap, as well. Or you might find yourself more interested in Apple’s newest phone, which will supposedly feature a larger screen, albeit at a likely higher price. The point is: You’ll have more options.

Either way, it’s important to remember than $0.97—or even $29—isn’t the real cost of the iPhone. Both prices require signing a 2-year contract for mobile service, which typically runs $60 to $100 per month—easily more than $1,000 over the length of the contract, and often more than $2,000. In that context, saving $28.03 just isn’t that great of a deal.