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Why you didn’t see any iPhone X Black Friday deals today

In case you haven’t noticed, today is Black Friday, and there’s a healthy number of deals on iPhones. Retailers like Best Buy are offering gift cards or discounts on iPhones, and T-Mobile is even offering a buy-one-get-one-free on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 7.

But one thing you’re not going to see today are any discounts on the iPhone X. One analyst dissecting the deal suggest that iPhone promotions in general are more “subdued” that normal, and a lack of consistent stock of the iPhone X means that you’re not going to see any discounts on Apple’s new flagship today.

“Promotions for the latest iPhones are more subdued compared to last year,” Cowen analyst Colby Synesael said in a note to investors seen by Fierce Wireless. “T-Mobile launched its ‘Magenta Friday’ early with a BOGO offer, but those signing up must include a new line. AT&T has a ‘buy the X get an 8 free’ but also requires a new line. Verizon and Sprint have $300-$350 in credits with trade-in. These offers are far more subdued compared to last year, when carriers offered a free iPhone and porting credit. It seems this year may remain subdued as carriers are focused more on free cash flow. Sprint has also been vocal about undercutting others, if necessary, as the ‘mutual assured destruction’ policy could keep the industry in check. It’s worth noting the iPhone supply constraints could drive the holiday competition to spill into 1Q18.”

The wireless carriers are generally expecting demand for the iPhone X to remain strong well into next year, which coupled with the lack of iPhone X stock, means that there’s no point in running any deals over Black Friday.

But there is a risk for the carriers. Right now, customers have a choice between buying the iPhone 8 today, or waiting a few months for the iPhone X. Carriers and Apple would prefer that they buy the more expensive, higher-margin X. But by offering sales on the iPhone 8, there’s the potential that sales will be cannibalized from the iPhone X.