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Apple retail stores reportedly price-matching iPhones

Sprint's recent iPhone price cut has apparently spilled over into Apple's retail stores, letting new buyers pick up discounts there as well.

iPhone 4 buyers at the launch in 2010.
iPhone 4 buyers at the launch in 2010. Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Apple will match the price of an iPhone from another authorized retailer if you buy it in an Apple store, according to a new report.

Citing an anonymous source, MacRumors this morning says it's now a quiet policy at Apple's stores to price-match with a handful of third-party authorized sellers and carrier partners so that users can buy a new phone in an Apple store versus going elsewhere to get the same deal.

Per a purportedly leaked photo of the new policy, that amounts to a savings of $49.01 on the 8GB iPhone 4, as well as all three models of the iPhone 4S -- that is if buyers can point to a partner store with a discount. The change comes on the heels of Sprint dropping the price of a new iPhone by $50 as part of a promotion.

Apple has a long history of not explicitly stating that it will price-match goods -- both its own, and third-party items it stocks. However, the company offers employees a way to do it at their own discretion.

CNET has contacted Apple for confirmation of the policy, and will update this post when we know more.

In an interview at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference last month, former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson was keen to point out that Apple products were readily available at a discount from other authorized sellers. That includes places like Amazon and Target where those sellers can undercut Apple's prices, or bundle products with physical or digital add-ons. Jonson explained that the company's end goal was really just to keep that customer within its product ecosystem, no matter where they bought it.

"If someone wants to leave, let them go, because Apple cared deeply about its channel partners. We want them to be successful as well," Johnson said. "You know, as long as someone buys an Apple product, Apple's prospering. Maybe not at the same rate, but in the long run, you'll earn better profits."