Walmart Selling iPhone 5 Relatively Dirt Cheap, Is Android Causing More Pain?

If you're looking for a last minute Christmas gift, head on over to your local Wallyworld (if you can stand the crowd this time of year) and browse the Apple products, you might be surprised at what you find. Namely, Walmart is selling the iPhone 5 for just $127 in-store with a two-year service agreement to AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon. The iPhone 5 normally sells for $187 at Walmart, and $200 on Apple's website, so this is a fantastic deal for a high-end smartphone. But is also an indication that Android has Apple in a headlock?

It's hard to tell. Under normal circumstances, discounts this deep usually run when there's a new model on the horizon, but the iPhone 5 is Apple's new model. What's also interesting about the timing of the sale price is that it comes on the heels of a UBS analyst lowering his iPhone sales estimate for 2013, dropping his forecast by 5 million units, the L.A. Times reports.

Apple iPhone 5

Like just about every iPhone launch, the iPhone 5 went through a few launch hiccups, including complaints about the camera introducing a purple haze in brightly lit environments, and reports of damaged (scratched and chipped) phones shipping straight from the manufacturing plant in China. Apple's supplier, Foxconn, went so far as to claim the iPhone 5 suffers from a design flaw, seemingly indicating that some of the problems are impossible to avoid.

Samsung Celebrate Galaxy S III
Samsung celebrating 30 million Galaxy S III sales.

Nonetheless, the iPhone 5 has found an audience and is the best version of the iPhone yet. Maybe that's not enough. Some feel that Samsung's Galaxy S III is the superior smartphone, even though it's an older device. We're also starting to see quad-core Android phones trickle into the market, such as LG's well-spec'd Optimus G.

It doesn't help that there are conflicting reports about market share. At the end of November, comScore released a report that had Android dominating smartphone penetration in the U.S. with a 53.6 share of the market in the past three months, compared to Apple in a distant second with a 34.3 percent share. Just a few days ago, Kantar World Panel ComTech released conflicting figures that had iOS in the lead with a 53.3 percent share of the smartphone market in the U.S., compared to Android's 41.9 percent.

Will the real smartphone leader please stand up?