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AT&T Hiding iPhone 4 Ahead of iPhone 5 Launch?

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The iPhone 4 is AT&T’s hottest selling smartphone. So why is the wireless carrier hiding Apple’s iPhone 4 on ATTWireless.com? It is likely that AT&T is pulling the iPhone 4 out of the spotlight ahead of an iPhone 5 announcement that may occur at WWDC on Monday.

AT&T was the exclusive iPhone 4 wireless carrier from June 24, 2010 through February 2011, when Verizon began selling a CDMA version of the iPhone 4. AT&T has promoted the iPhone 4 heavily on its website and in advertisements for the better part of the year. AT&T’s and Apple’s efforts have paid off and the iPhone 4 is AT&T’s best selling phone.

But you wouldn’t know that by visiting the recently refreshed ATT.com. Rather than showcasing the iPhone 4 and making it easy for visitors to buy the device, AT&T has all but hidden the iPhone 4 from view.

A huge iPhone 3GS promo greets visitors, followed by an Infuse 4G promo on the AT&T Wireless landing page. That’s right, the iPhone that debuted two years ago and that can’t even run some of the App Store’s most popular apps properly is front and center. Yes, the iPhone 3GS is cheap, but it’s not something we recommend buying at this stage of the smartphone game.

There’s nothing wrong with promoting a cheap iPhone. After all, ATT.com promotes the iPhone 4 prominently on lots of web pages….right?  Wrong.

The smartphones section of AT&T.com has an impressive selection of smartphones to choose from. The grid has 29 smartphones that are sorted by price (mostly). The new iPhone 4 is in position number 26 in the second-to-last row, below the HP Veer.

So why isn’t AT&T promoting the iPhone 4 more? Perhaps it’s because the iPhone 5 will be unveiled on stage by Steve Jobs at Apple’s WWDC, which kicks off Monday.

Those buying an iPhone 3GS for $49 know that they’re not getting the latest and greatest technology, but they are saving a bunch of money by going with an older iPhone model. However, those now paying $199 or $299 for an iPhone 4 are opting for the latest models. Perhaps AT&T doesn’t want to sell a bunch of new iPhone 4 units just ahead of WWDC and deal with countless exchanges from customers who would rightfully want to upgrade within AT&T’s return window.

AT&T’s Web site and the iPhone 3GS commercials the carrier is currently running are another reason why some of us believe that we’ll see the iPhone 5 at WWDC.

What do you think? Is AT&T just trying to clear out its iPhone 3GS stock? Or is the iPhone 5 on its way it?

Xavier Lanier is the publisher of Gotta Be Mobile and a photographer. He uses too many devices to count, but his current favorites are the iPhone 5s, HTC One, Nikon D800 and Sony RX 100M II. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+.

34 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    06/04/2011 at 8:43 pm

    This is just crazy enough to be true.  The argument that AT&T wants to minimize returns actually makes sense.  Fingers crossed– we’ll find out soon enough,

  2. Andrewryoung

    06/04/2011 at 9:17 pm

    All I can do is hope, just two more days until we find out!

  3. Steven Jobbs

    06/04/2011 at 10:47 pm

    Nice, ive been patient even after my 2yr contract expired to wait on a new phone just in case the iPhone 5 will be released. (fingers crossed)

  4. guest

    06/04/2011 at 10:47 pm

    that is a little weird now that I think about it. It could very well be just a way to rid of the 3gs stock but who knows!

  5. Crazy3445

    06/04/2011 at 11:02 pm

    Well at this point why would you get a model that will be two years d and can’t keep up with the times. AT&T doesn’t know exactly when the iPhone 5 will be unveiled. They just want to get rid of them I vase apple does.

  6. guest

    06/04/2011 at 11:12 pm

    Not only is this true and very odd, but if you do find the iPhone 4 page at att.com you see the white iPhone 4 add and in about 3 seconds it loops to an iPhone 3GS add…. I think the writer of this page just found the smoking gun!!!! :) we will see in 1.5 days! 

  7. guest

    06/04/2011 at 11:12 pm

    Not only is this true and very odd, but if you do find the iPhone 4 page at att.com you see the white iPhone 4 add and in about 3 seconds it loops to an iPhone 3GS add…. I think the writer of this page just found the smoking gun!!!! :) we will see in 1.5 days! 

  8. Nathan Schindler

    06/04/2011 at 11:52 pm

    I hope for a new iphone. have a 3g and would like to upgrade, but don’t want to buy old phone. I think ATT is probably trying to get rid of 3gs because iOS 5 is coming and won’t be supported on 3gs. iPhone 5 should be LTE capable and world phone. Fall release most likely. Face it, people buying new iphone first up will be in areas that have LTE access.

  9. Jking86

    06/05/2011 at 12:21 am

    I hope its True Cause if they predicting it to come out in sept thats when my contract ends I just hope it has 4G or im getting the HTC Thunderbolt

  10. Nickman55

    06/05/2011 at 1:32 am

    Or they simply don’t want to put a $200 phone next to $100 phones…

  11. Isuaero

    06/05/2011 at 1:42 am

    They probably want to get rid of the 3GS because Apple may cease officially supporting it ala iOS5

  12. Vanjon

    06/05/2011 at 2:27 am

    ATT also waving the activation fees for other windows and andriod phones. check http://www.att.com

  13. Vanjon

    06/05/2011 at 2:27 am

    ATT also waving the activation fees for other windows and andriod phones. check http://www.att.com

  14. nocki9314

    06/05/2011 at 9:01 am

    I think it’s very possible. This is apples way of getting back at the “iPhone that got left in a bar”. Apple is gonna surprise everyone at WWDC and unveil a new iPhone 5….hopefully! If true, then that’s pretty damn good. Not even a single official leak of an iPhone 5. They really did it this time.

    • Geo_Hawkins

      06/05/2011 at 7:49 pm

      I want new. My apple care two years on 3GS expires June 29!
      I will not buy a 4, makes no sense!!!

    • Geo_Hawkins

      06/05/2011 at 7:49 pm

      I want new. My apple care two years on 3GS expires June 29!
      I will not buy a 4, makes no sense!!!

      • DilliRocks

        06/05/2011 at 10:07 pm

        Same here. Now is not the right time to buy an iPhone 4. Waiting for the new iPhone :(

  15. Guest

    06/05/2011 at 8:20 pm

    I think this article is right. The only iPhone 4 models in stock are white and a refurbished black one. And they are right at the bottom of the smartphone page. 

    • Guest

      06/05/2011 at 8:22 pm

      And the black refurbished one is out of stock. 

  16. Drew

    06/06/2011 at 5:20 am

    I spoke with an At&t rep yesterday who confirmed that the iphone 5 would be released today.

    • Fake

      06/07/2011 at 3:43 am

      And the Rep and you were VERY WRONG!

    • Jermayne

      06/12/2011 at 2:05 am

      Ha, he was blowing smoke way up your @$$

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