Photo: Associated Press
Whenever I meet someone new and say I write about tech for a living, the next question out of his or her mouth is usually:“When does the next iPhone come out?”
Same goes when I get an email or Facebook message from a family member or close friend I haven’t heard from in a while.
“Hey Steve, I’m thinking about buying a new phone. Should I buy the iPhone now or wait for the next one?”
It seems to be on everyone’s mind.
But the answer to whether you should buy a new iPhone now or wait for the next model isn’t as simple as “yes” or “no.”
All signs point to another October launch for Apple’s next iPhone. That means we’re just under three months away.
Should you wait that long?
If you can deal with your current phone for another few months, then yes. Wait until October and buy the new iPhone as soon as it comes out.
If you really need a new phone right now, if your current handset is crashing or freezing or cracked, then no. Don’t wait. Go buy an iPhone 4S. Today.
According to the latest rumours, there are a lot of neat hardware upgrades coming to the next iPhone. It’ll likely have a larger screen, thinner body, and the ability to connect to those super fast 4G LTE networks that provide data speeds close to what you’re used to on your cable modem.
Those are all much-needed improvements, but we already know just about everything about the most important part of the next iPhone: the operating system. Apple introduced iOS 6, its next mobile operating system due to launch this fall, at its developers conference in June. iOS 6 will add Facebook integration for sharing content, new Siri features like using your voice to open apps and search for sports scores, and a gorgeous new 3D maps app.
If you buy an iPhone 4S today, you’ll get all those great new features. Your new iPhone 4S won’t suddenly be out of date when the next iPhone arrives this fall.
But there is one more slight caveat you should know about.
Based on Apple’s history with new iPhone launches, it’s very likely the company will sneak in some exclusive features that you can only access on the next iPhone. Think back to last year’s introduction of the iPhone 4S and how it’s the only iPhone model that can run Siri. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple come up with a similar exclusive feature for the next iPhone. (What that exclusive feature is, no one really knows yet. Some people think the next iPhone will be able to make mobile payments thanks to a special chip, but that’s mostly just speculation at this point.)
In short, if you really need a new phone, you won’t be disappointed in three months if you buy an iPhone 4S today. Everyone else should hold out.