Walmart to permanently cut price of Apple's iPhone 5s to $99, iPhone 5c to $29

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In an announcement on Thursday, big-box retailer Walmart said it will be slashing prices on Apple's latest iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c models on Friday ahead of an impending refresh cycle expected this fall.

A Walmart spokesperson alerted Engadget to the new pricing tiers, noting Apple's 16GB iPhone 5s will be available in stores for $99 with two-year contract, down from $149, while the 16GB iPhone 5c will be reduced to $29, down from $49.

The price changes are scheduled to take effect at 9 a.m. local time and are only available through brick-and-mortar stores. Further deals for higher capacity models like the 32GB iPhone 5s and 5c are also expected, though specific details have yet to be released.

Walmart has offered similar deals on select iPhone 5s and 5c models through various promotions like the 2013 holiday sale, but tomorrow's price cut is said to be a permanent change.

The reason behind the move is unknown, though it can be assumed that the company is looking to get a leg up on competitors before Apple announces its next-generation lineup later this year.

Industry watchers expect the so-called "iPhone 6" to come in two sizes, a 4.7-inch model and a larger 5.5-inch "phablet" type version. Both are rumored to feature a complete redesign with thinner chassis, rounded edges and a relocated sleep/wake button. Internal enhancements will likely include an advanced "A8" processor and upgraded communications hardware.

Current speculation says Apple will release the iPhone 6 during the company's usual launch window in September, with some reports claiming to have pegged down the date to Sept. 19.