Photo: Ellis Hamburger, Business Insider
We’re at an odd time for those who want to buy an iPhone.The iPhone 4S has been available for six months now. That’s the midpoint of the phone’s life cycle.
So it’s only natural to wonder: Should you buy an iPhone now, or wait for the next one?
In fact, last week alone, we were asked, “Should I buy an iPhone?” by six different people. All of them happened to be due for an upgrade from their old BlackBerry in the near future and were finally ready to get an iPhone.
What we found interesting was that they were all hedging on making the purchase. They wanted to know: Should they go ahead and buy the iPhone now or wait until the next model comes out?
We imagine our friends and colleagues aren’t the only ones with this question, so we decided to write up a quick guide for buying a new iPhone this year.
When does the next iPhone come out?
Apple deviated from its traditional summer release of a new iPhone last year. Instead of a June or July launch, the iPhone 4S didn’t come out until October 2011. Most analysts expect Apple to keep a yearly October release cycle for the iPhone from now on.
As of this writing, that means you have a whole six months to wait before the next iPhone is available. And six months is practically an eternity in the tech world.
If I get an iPhone now, what will I be missing when the new iPhone launches?
We know next to nothing about what’s in store for the next iPhone.
However, there are some good guesses. First of all, it’s very likely the next iPhone will be able to connect to 4G LTE networks. LTE is the wireless technology that is about 10 times faster than 3G. At times, LTE download speeds can be just as fast as your cable or DSL modem connection. The new iPad already has LTE, so it’s a natural to assume Apple will add it to the new iPhone too.
Some analysts and experts think the next iPhone will have a slightly larger screen than the current model, probably four inches. But other rumours say the next iPhone will maintain the standard 3.5-inch display.
What would be the downside to getting the next iPhone?
As we said, the next iPhone is expected to be a 4G LTE device. As Apple’s first phone using the new 4G standard, there are likely to be some hardware and software glitches. Battery life could suffer. There could be problems connecting to networks. Who knows.
On the other hand, we can guarantee Apple has everything figured out with the current iPhone 4S. If you want to ensure a perfect, worry-free experience, get the iPhone 4S now.
If I buy an iPhone now, will it be completely obsolete when the new one comes out?
Apple is very good about keeping its older iPhones updated with the latest software. For example, the iPhone 3GS, which launched in 2009, is capable of running the newest version of Apple’s operating system called iOS 5.
If you buy an iPhone 4S today, you’re guaranteed to get just about every new iPhone feature in the next software update.
I’m due for an upgrade late this summer, just a few weeks before the new iPhone is supposed to launch. What should I do?
If you’re due for an upgrade shortly before the next iPhone launches — within two months or so — then and only then is it worth waiting. Unless your current phone is about to die, you should hold out.
My current BlackBerry/Android/iPhone/flip phone is about to die. Should I hold out for the next iPhone?
No! Buy a new iPhone now. There’s no point in using a barely functional device. Like we said, if you buy an iPhone 4S today, it’ll get all the latest software updates and features when the new version of iOS comes out with the next iPhone model.
Which iPhone model should I buy?
Technology moves fast, so we almost always recommend buying the top-of-the-line model of any gadget. If you want to buy an iPhone, go with the iPhone 4S. It’s the best way to “future proof” your phone and ensure it gets all the latest updates and goodies from Apple.
The iPhone 4S comes with three storage options: 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB. Unless you plan on storing a ton of movies and music on your phone, the 16 GB option should do the trick.
What about apps? Click here to see 11 apps you should use every day >