I know I am part of Apple's iPhone problem but even after doing all my research, I still don't feel the need to upgrade

Nick Bastone / Business Insider
  • At the beginning of January, Apple announced that its holiday quarter revenue would be 7% lower than expected due to weakening iPhone sales.
  • Not having upgraded my 7 Plus for over two years, I know I am part of Apple’s iPhone problem.
  • So, I made a trip to my local Apple Store and did some research to see if I should finally upgrade to an iPhone XR or XS. Here’s what I decided.

I am part of Apple‘s iPhone problem.

You see, I own a perfectly fine iPhone 7 plus that I’ve had for over two years, and I feel no pressure to upgrade.

My screen isn’t cracked. All the apps I need are running smoothly (despite the occasional crash). And I like to think that my photos still stand up to my friends’ who shoot with their new, notch-laden iPhone XR and XS.

Bah humbug! I’m sticking with my 7!

I was curious, though, how much it would cost to upgrade and would that cost be justified?

The Face ID feature to open a locked screen seems nice (my thumbprint only works 50% of the time when it’s sunny out and 0% when it’s raining). And maybe having Portrait Mode on the front facing camera would help make me look less awkward in selfies. Maybe not.

Anyways, I headed to my local Apple store in San Francisco’s Union Square to figure out if I should finally upgrade or not.

Here’s what I found:

If I were to buy the cheapest of Apple’s new phones — the 64 GB iPhone XR — my monthly fee would be $US37.41 through its financing program.

YouTube/MKBHDiPhone XR

That $US37.41 is exactly what I was paying per month for my 7 Plus.

But since I haven’t upgraded my phone for over two years, my monthly payments are no longer. Starting last September, I owned my phone outright and have been paying $US0 to Apple since.

So, if I were to upgrade, I’d have to get used to a monthly payment again.

If I traded in my 7 Plus (which is in good condition), I would receive a $US300 credit through Apple’s GiveBack program.

AppleiPhone 7-Plus lineup

That credit could be used for future monthly payments and paying taxes on my next phone.

Shoot! I always forget about the taxes. Let’s figure that out real quick.

The 64 GB XR retails for $US749, and the sales tax in San Francisco is 8.5%. So to walk out the door with my new XR, I would have to pay $US63.67 in taxes.

After taxes, I would have $US236.33 left from my trade-in credits, which would be enough to cover my first six months of fees on my new XR. That’s not bad!

GettyApple CEO Tim Cook.

But, do I really want an XR?


I wasn’t impressed with the look or feel of that phone.

According to the specs, my 7 Plus is thinner and lighter than the XR and actually has a higher resolution display.

If I were to upgrade, I’d go with the 256 GB XS Max which comes out to $US60.33 per month through Apple’s financing program.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

That’s quite a bit more expensive per month than the XR and after taxes on the $US1249 XS Max, I would only have three free months from my trade-in credit.

Going from $US0 to $US60.33 per month is a hefty difference. And for what reason?

My 7 Plus is still looking good!

Nick Bastone / Business Insider

I’m proud that even without a case (those get in the way of how a phone is supposed to feel), I only have minor scratches.

Also, my battery life is still holding strong. And as the Apple employee kindly reminded me, if my battery does deteriorate, I can replace it with a new one for just $US49.

Further, even with improvements to the newer cameras in the XR and XS, I still stick by the quality of shots I’m able to capture with my 2.5-year-old “clunker.”

I’m not sure what it will take for me to finally upgrade from my 7 Plus – maybe if those intermittent app crashes become more consistent or god forbid, my AirPods can’t connect.

But for now, I’ll happily continue to be in upgrade limo and a poster boy for Apple’s current iPhone problem.

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