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The absolute best iPhone deals for January 2019

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Want to buy an iPhone without spending too much money? 

Normally, we’d say that’s impossible, but you’re in luck: Apple recently issued its first profit warning since 2002. While that sounds gloomy for investors, it’s good news for those of you who want to buy Apple products, as ZDNet’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes explained here.

Also: Meet the new Diet iPhone: Could a fresh formula boost Apple’s bottom line?

He’s predicted a downward effect on pricing. Don’t expect Apple to cut its iPhone prices by half or anything dramatic like that, but you could see some models getting decent discounts over the next few months. In fact, there are great deals to be found already. 

Here are the best iPhone sales we’ve spotted for January 2019.

Best iPhone deals: Major carriers

AT&T

  • AT&T is holding an iPhone BOGO sale — where you buy an iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR, and you’ll get a free iPhone XR with your purchase. See AT&T’s iPhone BOGO deal here.
  • Alternatively, as part of the same BOGO sale above, you can buy an iPhone and get up to $750 in credit toward the purchase of an iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max. See AT&T’s iPhone BOGO deal here.

Sprint

Also: This is why Apple doesn’t want you fixing your smartphone

T-Mobile

  • Buy the iPhone XS and trade in an eligible device, and then you’ll get $390 back (via 36 monthly bill credits). Eligible trade-ins include the iPhone 7 through iPhone 8 Plus; Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8, Google Pixel through Pixel 2 XL, and LG V30 and LG G). For instance, if you trade in an Phone 7, you’ll get $300 in credit. See T-Mobile’s iPhone XS deal here.
  • Buy an iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, or iPhone 8 on a monthly payment plan, add a new line of service (so, two total), and trade in an eligible device, and then you’ll get up to $750 back (via 24 or 36 monthly bill credits). Eligible trade-ins include the iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus. For instance, if you trade in an iPhone 7, you’ll get $300 in credit. See T-Mobile’s iPhone deal here.

Verizon

  • Got an old phone laying around? Verizon is offering a minimum $100 credit ( to your account over 24 months) when you upgrade and trade-in select models (ranging from the iPhone SE to the Samsung Galaxy S4). See Verizon’s trade-in deal here.
  • You can add a new line of service at Verizon and then get $300 off the purchase of a new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR.  See Verizon’s iPhone deal here.

Also: Apple: Beginning of the end, or a new beginning?

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Best iPhone deals: Prepaid carriers

Boost Mobile

  • Boost Mobile is offering one of the best prices we’ve seen on the iPhone XR. You can get the 64GB version for $649.99 with free shipping and no service contract. That’s $99 off.The 128GB option is also available, but for $699.99, and the 256GB is $799.99, with  free shipping and no contract. They’re both $99 off. See Boost Mobile’s iPhone XR deal here.

MetroPCS

Virgin Mobile

Also: What would Steve Jobs think of the 2019 Apple?

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Best iPhone deals: Retailers

Amazon

  • If you don’t mind buying a refurbished iPhone, there’s an iPhone 8 (unlocked, 64GB) for $473 on Amazon. That’s $117 less than the same refurbished model at Best Buy. It’s also backed by Amazon’s 90-day guarantee. See Amazon’s iPhone 8 deal here.

Best Buy

  • Get the iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max (with activation), and you’ll receive up to $400 as a Best Buy gift card — if you trade in an old iPhone. You can estimate your iPhone trade-in value here. An iPhone 7 (128GB) will fetch you around $170. This is an in-store only offer. See Best Buy’s iPhone XS/XS Max deal here.
  • Best Buy is offering the same deal above for the iPhone XR (with activation). Again, you’ll receive up to $400 as a Best Buy gift card — if you trade in an old iPhone. This is an in-store only offer. See Best Buy’s iPhone XR deal here.

eBay

  • BuySpry (via eBay) has a refurbished iPhone 7 Plus (unlocked, 256GB) in Black for $384.78 with free shipping. A 60-day BuySpry warranty is included. It also comes with an MFi-certified cable and power adapter. See eBay’s iPhone 7 Plus deal here.
  • BuySpry (via eBay) has a refurbished iPhone 8 Plus (unlocked, 256GB) in Space Grey for $574.99 with free shipping. Again, a 60-day BuySpry warranty is included. See eBay’s iPhone 8 Plus deal here.

Target

  • Target has $35 off the Phone SE (prepaid from Simple Mobile), making it $124.99. To be clear, this phone works on a prepaid service, but there’s no contract, and it’s a 22 percent savings on a model just two years old. See Target’s iPhone SE deal here.

Walmart

  • Walmart has the iPhone 6 32GB (prepaid from Straight Talk) in Space Gray for $99. Again, this phone works on a prepaid but service, but this is the best deal for any carrier by at least $50. See Walmart’s iPhone 6 deal here.

Must read


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Best iPhone deals: Apple Store

  1. Apple sells refurbished iPhone models, too. It has the iPhone 7 Plus (unlocked, 32GB) for $479, a $99 savings. You can also get it in 128GB for $569 (a $100 savings) or 256GB for $649 (a $220 savings). See Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus deal here.
  2. Apple has a dedicated online storefront for active military personnel and veterans — complete with a 10-percent discount offer on Apple products, including the iPhone. The new iPhone XR, for instance, is just $674. See Apple’s military storefront here.

For more great deals on devices, gadgetry, and technology for your enterprise, business, or home office, see ZDNet’s Business Bargain Hunter blog. Affiliate disclosure: ZDNet earns commission from the products and services featured on this page.

Previous and related coverage:

iPhone XS Max: The iPhone’s future is big and bright

Apple’s iPhone XS Max is as big as it gets.

iPhone XS: Everything Apple has to offer, but in a smaller package

The iPhone XS is the smallest of Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup, but don’t discount it.

Apple iPhone XR: Lower cost comes with camera, reception compromises

Apple switched up release strategies a bit in 2018 with the two high end $1,000+ models released initially, followed by one priced $250 to $350 less. The iPhone XR arrives in six color options and honestly it may be the best option for the masses.

Apple iPhone X: This is as good as it gets

Face ID, an impressive display, new interaction methods, and solid performance put the iPhone X on top.

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Fortnite’s mystery ‘superstar’ virtual music tour kicks off next week – TechCrunch

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Epic Games is teasing the biggest in-game event since Travis Scott psychedelically stomped through Fortnite’s virtual meadows.

The mysterious new event, which Fortnite-maker Epic is calling the “Rift Tour,” will kick off on Friday, August 6 and run through Sunday, August 8. In the teaser announcement, Epic invites players to “take a musical journey into magical new realities where Fortnite and a record-breaking superstar collide.”

In-game events building up to the mystery show series will run from July 29 through August 8, so players can hop into Fortnite to check out new Rift Tour-themed quests and rewards now. The cotton-candy-colored event will offer a custom loading screen and a fluffy cloud kitty emoticon, among other digital prizes.

The Rift Tour isn’t a one-and-done event. Like the Travis Scott event, Fortnite will host five different show times across three days to make it easier for players to catch. Epic says they’ll have more details to share on Monday, August 2, so Fortnite players will have to wait for more hints or an official announcement about who’s performing.

So … who’s performing? So far, all signs point to Ariana Grande. Leakers have been saying as much for more than a week, and the documents revealed through Epic’s court battle with Apple also detailed plans for in-game events with both Grande and Lady Gaga.

Image Credits: Epic Games

At Forbes, Paul Tassi also connected the dots on how recent leaks point to Grande, including some visual themes from her music videos and a reference to her pet pig Piggy Smalls.

Since Epic is calling its latest virtual event a tour, that suggests Grande won’t be alone, if she is indeed the mystery superstar. A Lady Gaga appearance could also be in the cards, since Epic apparently had plans for Gaga to appear in a December 2020 concert that never materialized. Kanye West is also releasing his newest album on August 6, but it seems less likely that Epic would be willing to partner with West given his myriad recent controversies. And “Donda,” West’s latest album, was originally scheduled for a different date before being delayed.

Whoever it winds up being, we’ll likely know more on Monday. Even if you’re not a Grande fan or a regular gamer, Fortnite’s in-game concerts are some of the most creative and visually exciting virtual events to date.

Everyone should fall through the metaverse with their friends while a skyscraper-sized virtual rapper shoots neon lightning bolts at least once.

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Why companies and brands need to tune in – TechCrunch

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What comes to mind when you think of livestreaming? In the U.S., most people would name their favorite celebrity leading a Q&A on Instagram or a gamer doing a speedrun on Twitch.

In China, it’s shopping, streamed live.

Livestream e-commerce has taken off in China in the last few years and is expected to yield more than $60 billion this year. In 2019, 37% of online shoppers in China (a cool 265 million people) made purchases on livestreams — and that was well before quarantine. In 2020, it’s estimated to have reached around 560 million people.

During Taobao’s annual Single’s Day Global Shopping Festival in 2020 (China’s Black Friday), livestreams accounted for $6 billion in sales — nearly doubled from a year earlier.

Starting to see a trend? The big U.S. companies have noticed, and they’re jumping on the bandwagon faster than you can say, “Swipe up to buy now!”

Last December, Walmart livestreamed shopping events on TikTok. Amazon released a live platform where influencers promote items and chat with customers. Instagram launched a Shop feature that encourages users to browse and buy within the app. Facebook also kicked off Live Shopping Fridays for the beauty and fashion categories.

“It’s an entertaining way for shops to tell the story behind their products. It brings buyers closer than ever to their favorite creators and allows them to have a voice in the conversation.”

Startups are growing fast to keep up with the heavy hitters — PopShop.Live raised $20 million to let people buy everything from books and toys to jewelry from sellers who livestream their offerings, and Whatnot raised a $50 million Series B, largely to expand its livestream commerce infrastructure. There’s also a burgeoning category of SaaS tools such as Bambuser, which is working with brands like Klarna to test native livestream shopping directly within branded apps.

At this pace, retailers will all welcome livestream commerce teams like they have influencer partnerships in recent years. It’ll just be part of the digital equation to stay competitive and relevant in the future of marketplaces and e-commerce.

From B.C. to 5G: The evolution of shopping

What is old is new again. Your grandparents spent years watching QVC because it balanced the experience of speaking with an associate with the convenience of their retirement community’s TV room. Livestream is today’s version of “shoptainment,” where hosts showcase products dynamically, interact with their audiences and build urgency with short-term offers, giveaways and limited-edition items.

Now, with livestream commerce, hosts can form deeper customer connections and answer questions in real time. It’s a new standard of communication that holds a longstanding truth from Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar to smartphones: People shop to kill time and are more likely to buy when they feel connected with a salesperson.

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Twitter shuttering NY, SF offices in response to new CDC guidelines – TechCrunch

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Just two weeks after reopening its New York and San Francisco offices, social media giant Twitter said Wednesday that it will be closing those offices “immediately.”

The decision came “after careful consideration of the CDC’s updated guidelines, and in light of current conditions,” a spokesperson said.

“Twitter has made the decision to close our opened offices in New York and San Francisco as well as pause future office reopenings, effective immediately. We’re continuing to closely monitor local conditions and make necessary changes that prioritize the health and safety of our Tweeps,” the spokesperson added.

The company initially just reopened those offices on July 12. It declined to reveal headcount per office.

The CDC this week recommended that fully vaccinated people begin wearing masks indoors again in places with high Covid transmission rates amid concerns about the highly contagious Delta variant.

Earlier today, TechCrunch’s Brian Heater reported that Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the company will require employees to be vaccinated before returning to work on-site. It was part of a larger letter sent to Google/Alphabet staff that also noted the company will be extending its work-from-home policy through October 18, as the COVID-19 delta variant continues to sweep through the global population.

In a message to TechCrunch, Facebook’s VP of People, Lori Goler, confirmed a similar policy for the social media behemoth.

Amazon also responded to TechCrunch’s inquiry on the matter, noting, “We strongly encourage Amazon employees and contractors to be vaccinated as soon as COVID-19 vaccines are available to them.”

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