Don’t buy an iPhone now. That’s the gist of Joanna Stern’s missive in The Wall Street Journal. Why not? After all, if you need an iPhone now, what benefit do you gain by waiting until the next version shows up sometime next fall?
Technology changes are the nature of the game. Don’t buy an iPhone 6s Plus, because the iPhone 7 Plus will be better, do more, last longer, and probably cost the same (with the advantage of perhaps a better camera and more storage). Then again, don’t buy the iPhone 7 Plus, because in just a few short months after that, Apple will release iOS 11 with more cool features and better security, just in time to populate a new iPhone 8. Why buy now when what’s coming will be so much better.
See the problem with that kind of thinking?
Look at it another way. Let’s say a few years ago you had a Samsung Galaxy-whatever and your carrier’s contract ended so you switched to a new cell phone company, got another two-year contract, and an iPhone. Now the contract has ended and you need a new phone. What to do?
That’s the waiting game that Stern says you should follow. Don’t buy. Just wait. The caveat here is that she advocates that you don’t buy new iPhone from about June on because new iPhones are just around the corner.
But buying when you have a need vs. waiting around for the next model won’t change anything about using the new model– it’s still going to be used a year or two– but only when you start using it.
Through the years I’ve bought my fair share of iPhone models; some as soon as they shipped and hit the Apple Stores, some a few months later, and once six months later. Allow me to counter the issue Stern raises with this.
Buying an iPhone earlier means hardware may be more buggy. Buying an iPhone after Apple’s factory partner has made 30-to-40-million more units means they have the manufacturing process down, which means fewer hardware bugs.
That’s logical. That’s plausible.
The iPhones I’ve had which became problematic and needed to be repaired (actually, replaced; there’s not much repairing going on these days) were those iPhones I bought within a month after the new models were launched.
Then, when I finally purchased a new model– three to four months after the initial product launch– I still got to use the iPhone for a full two years. Nothing is different than buying early except I avoided the early manufacturing bugs (don’t let anyone fool you; there are always manufacturing bugs).
When is the best time to buy an iPhone?
I’m sticking with a few months after launch. If you’re a patient sort, and money is an object, you’ll reward your patience with last year’s model at a discount, but even then it’s usually a $100 difference between new vs. old. So I cannot advocate buying older technology. Even Apple puts new components into the iPhone SE, the entry-level model that looks like a three-year-old iPhone 5.
When is it a bad time to buy an iPhone? Never. Some times are better, but there’s never a bad time.