In the market for a brand new iPhone? We've got an important piece of advice for you: WAIT! Now is the worst time to buy.
You're probably well aware by now, but in case you aren't, here's the PSA: iPhone-land is about to get a big shake-up, and there is no reason for you to buy a new phone before that happens. On Sept. 10th, we're (probably) going to be seeing not one but two new flavors of iPhone, and you'll want to know about them before you make your decision.
A Fancy New Flagship
Apple has yet to confirm it big iPhone reveal is coming in just a few short weeks. A big event with a brand-new flagship iPhone. The iPhone 5S rumors are just that at this point, but we've still got a pretty good idea what's coming.
The iPhone that's coming in early September will be pretty much like the iPhone 5, but with a few key upgrades. We're talking about a faster processor, a better battery and maybe a dual LED flash for the camera. We've also seen hints that iPhone 5S will have a fingerprint scanner in the home button so that you'll never have to type in your PIN again. And if you like standing out, it looks like the 5S will come in gold (and maybe graphite?) in addition to traditional black and white.
But most importantly—unless the world turns upside down—it'll be $200 on contract. The exact same price that the less-good-in-almost-every-way iPhone 5 is today. If you buy an iPhone 5 at full price today, you'll hate yourself for it a few weeks from now.
And even if the iPhone 5's not your speed, you'll still want to hold off.
A Budget Badass
We've been hearing rumors about a lower-cost iPhone for ages, but this time, it seems almost certainly true. Evidence for an "iPhone 5c" has been turning up like crazy. When it arrives on the scene, it's definitely going to mix up the iPhone hierarchy we're used to.
We're pretty sure the iPhone 5c will have a back made of plastic and come in a whole bunch of colors. So it's a bit of a departure from your typical flagship iPhone. Its guts are likely to be recycled from older models (probably the 4S), and it stands to be a cheaper, more durable, more colorful option for kids, klutzes, and anyone who doesn't need or want a premium product at a premium price.
But the big question about the iPhone 5c is price. Dirt cheap has never been a part of Apple's product strategy, so the best guess seems to be that it'd cost $100-$150 on contract, maybe $300-$400 unsubsidized. If you were thinking about getting an iPhone 4S, you'll want to wait for this instead. Bigger display, less breakable, same or better guts, a rainbow of colors, all for the same price.
Everybody wins by waiting
Even if you aren't curious what the iPhone 5S has in store, or couldn't care less about the colorful iPhone 5c, you should still wait. Why? Because every iPhone that's out right now will be cheaper next month.
Generally, a new flagship iPhone means that every other option gets pushed down one rung on the price ladder. So the iPhone 5S would be the new $200 option, the iPhone 5 would drop to $100, and the iPhone 4S would be free-on-contract while the currently free iPhone 4 fades away into history.
The iPhone 5c throws a wrench in those gears though; either we're going to have four different iPhones on sale at once, or Apple's going to phase out the iPhone 5 to avoid product confusion with the 5S. But even if Apple isn't selling its older handsets, that doesn't mean they won't be for sale, and cheap.
Yup, we're talking about refurbished units. Once the gold rush for the 5S starts, you can bet your ass there's going to be a landslide of trade-ins available for low, low prices as Apple rushes to clear out inventory. And if the iPhone 5 does get phased out early, you can bet they'll be a damn good deal.
A Little Patience
You'll know exactly what your iPhone options are on September 10th. Better still, you'll likely be able to preorder them on Sept. 13th, and can expect them in the mail on Sept. 20th. And as long as you can hold out until then, you'll be getting something better, or cheaper, or both, than what you can in an Apple Store today. Sit tight.