The iPhone 5 is no longer sold on the Apple Store but that doesn’t mean that it’s no longer being sold. The iPhone 5 is still a solid option for those looking to upgrade their smartphone but right now is not the time to buy into Apple’s flagship from two years ago.
Two years ago, the iPhone 5 made a huge splash. The device, which was released back in September of 2012, arrived with a number of sought after features including a larger 4-inch Retina Display, 4G LTE data speeds, a new industrial aluminum design, the new Lightning dock standard, new processor, and an improved rear camera.
At the time, the iPhone 5 was considered one of the best smartphones in the world. It’s no longer that but thanks to its specs and its software, the iPhone 5 is still finds itself amongst some of the mid-to-high level smartphone talent. It’s a great phone but now that it’s two years old, it’s not amongst the elite.
Apple no longer sells the iPhone 5 new but that doesn’t mean that you can’t buy it. Carriers offer refurbished versions of the iPhone 5 at discounted prices and retailers like eBay continue to sell the iPhone 5 to new customers. Unsurprisingly, we’ve heard from many people who are investigating the iPhone 5 and thinking about buying it as their next smartphone.
It’s a device that we can still recommend given how good iOS 7 is performing and given the fact that it should get at least one iOS update after the iOS 8 update this fall. However, we can’t recommend buying it right now, at least not in the next 60 days or so.
The next 40 to 60 days represent the absolute worst time to buy the iPhone 5 or any other smartphone for that matter. That’s because we’re hitting the tail end of the yearly smartphone cycle. The devices that arrive in the next two months or so will likely represent the top smartphone options until the cycle begins anew in the beginning of 2015.
I own the iPhone 5 and I’ve owned it for two years. It’s a great smartphone but it’s one that I’m going to be replacing in a few weeks when I come off contract. I still think it’s a smartphone worth investigating if you’re in the hunt for something new but I’m here to tell you that you’re better off waiting a few weeks as we approach the end of this year’s cycle.
Apple’s iPhone 6 is expected to set off a chain reaction of events, events that will work in the favor of those looking for a new smartphone. The first event is the iPhone 6 launch itself, expected to take place on September 9th at an undisclosed locale. That date isn’t confirmed but Recode’s John Paczkowski is a solid source and it’s alright to have September 9th circled in pen on the calendar.
What this means is that in just a few weeks, we’re going to see another iPhone option emerge. This only happens once a year and we only see a massive overhaul to the iPhone once every two years. The iPhone 6 is not expected to be an ‘S’ iPhone variant and rumors suggest that it will be loaded with brand new features including a redesign. If that’s not worth waiting for, I don’t know what is.
The iPhone 6 is expected to deliver some significant changes to the iPhone, changes that should help to push the iPhone 5 further down the totem pole. It’s thought to have two new screen sizes, 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches, both of which will provide more screen real estate for gaming, the web, getting work done, and television shows and movies. The best part is that it looks like the company might be able to accomplish that without blowing up the size of the iPhone.
While the 4-inch Retina Display was fantastic two years ago, I’ve started to loathe it, especially after using all of these big screen Android smartphones (like the LG G3) that are easy to use with one hand. The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 model appears to only be slightly larger than the iPhone 5s.
The iPhone 6 is also rumored to have a higher-resolution display, a slimmer and better protected design, a camera that’s improved over the iPhone 5s’, and an A8 processor that could deliver better performance and battery life. It could also provide more color options and software features that need the device’s hardware to function. NFC (Near-Field Communication) has been rumored several times, something that would turn the device into a mobile wallet.
I should also point out that the iPhone 6 will be coming stock with iOS 8. New iPhones typically receive three updates before they’re kicked aside. iOS 8 will represent the iPhone 5′s second major iOS update. Something to keep in mind if you’re planning on using your next phone for the long term like I am.
If you hold off on the iPhone 5 and wait a few weeks, you’ll open yourself up to a brand new iPhone that will likely be the biggest and best change to the iPhone since, you guessed it, the iPhone 5.
Galaxy Note 4
What’s more is that just by waiting, you’re going to get another big name smartphone option to look at.
Samsung is preparing for a huge September smartphone launch of its own. Earlier this week, the company confirmed the Galaxy Note 4 release and tagged the device with a launch date of September 3rd. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the successor to the Galaxy Note 3, isn’t an iPhone but it could be one of the year’s best smartphones.
The Galaxy Note 4 is rumored to have a number of big time features including a large QHD display, powerful processor, solid camera with optical image stabilization, a high-end design with a fingerprint sensor, and tons of carrier options in the United States. Last year’s Galaxy Note 3 was and still is as powerful as the iPhone 5s.
Like the iPhone, the Galaxy Note only comes out once a year and from the look of things, the Galaxy Note 4 could be the best Galaxy Note ever released. It’s worth waiting for, that’s for sure.
Walmart is already offering a $99 iPhone 5s deal. You’ll need to sign a contract but that’s a pretty amazing price for the current version of the iPhone and it’s a deal that prospective iPhone 5 buyers should be taking a look at. After all, the iPhone 5s trumps the iPhone 5 in most areas.
What’s more is that we expect more iPhone 5s deals to emerge in and around the iPhone 6 release as retailers attempt to compete with each other and perhaps, with Apple. I would not be surprised if a struggling retailer like RadioShack offered a steep discount on the iPhone 5s, a deal that you may not be able to take advantage of if you buy the iPhone 5 right now.
The same goes for top Android smartphones. Top iPhone 5s competitors like the LG G3, Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 will likely see their prices drop in September as sweeten their offers after the arrival of the iPhone 6. These devices serve as top iPhone 5 competitors as well and should be considered before buying the iPhone from two years ago.
Here’s the deal.
If you’re not in a hurry to replace your current smartphone and you aren’t one hundred percent sold on the iPhone 5, I highly recommend waiting, at least until September. In September, you’ll have two more options to weigh against the iPhone 5 and you should also have access to cheaper Android devices and a cheaper iPhone 5s. Just be patient and you’ll come out ahead.
We understand that every situation is different. Phones break, money appears, whatever. If you simply can’t wait, make sure that you don’t pay a ton for the iPhone 5. It’s still a very solid smartphone but now that it’s two iOS updates deep, there’s no reason why you should be shelling out for it, especially with the iPhone 5s price dipping to new lows.