Why You Shouldn’t Buy the iPhone 4 Today

Apple’s iPhone 4 is no longer an option from the Apple Store but that doesn’t mean that it’s no longer an option. There are still plenty of ways to acquire an iPhone 4. While it might seem like a tempting offer, do yourself a favor and avoid the iPhone 4.

Several years ago, Apple took the stage and announced the all new iPhone 4, a device that took over for the iPhone 3GS with a number of big time features including a beautiful Retina Display, faster processor, improved camera, and a redesign that put the plastic iPhone 3GS to shame. At the time, the iPhone 4 was considered one of the best smartphones that money could buy. That was nearly four years ago.

These days, the iPhone 4 is no longer an option through Apple’s shopping portals. That doesn’t mean that it has disappeared completely though. The iPhone 4 is still available and we’ve talked to several people that are considering it as their next smartphone. Either because it’s cheap or because they don’t care about new hardware or updated software.

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Over the years, the iPhone 4s has seen its price drop down to nothing on-contract. It’s also continued to receive software support it currently sits on Apple’s iOS 7.1.2 update. It’s a cheap way for consumers to gain access to Apple’s ecosystem but it’s one that we simply don’t recommend going forward.

Right now, these next 40 to 60 days, are the worst possible time to buy an iPhone and really, any smartphone. 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.

And that’s just one of the reasons why the iPhone 4 should be avoided right now.

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iPhone 6

One of the more compelling reasons to hold off on buying the iPhone 4, at least for right now, is because of the iPhone 6 launch date that is coming up in just a few short weeks. As we’ve noted, 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 in that chain reaction is the iPhone 6 launch itself, a launch that’s expected to take place on September 9th at an undisclosed location. That date isn’t confirmed but Recode’s John Paczkowski is a solid source and smartphone buyers can go ahead and circle September 9th, in pen, on the calendar. We should see Apple send out media invites to confirm that date, perhaps in and around September 3rd, the date on which Samsung will announce the Galaxy Note 4.

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. In other words, it’s going to represent a massive leap up from the iPhone 4.

Expect a bigger screen on the iPhone 6, but not incredibly big.

Expect a bigger screen on the iPhone 6, but not incredibly big.

The iPhone 6 is expected to deliver some significant changes to the iPhone, changes that we think will make the iPhone 4 look even more outdated. iPhone 6 rumors point to two new screen sizes, 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches, both of which will provide more screen real estate for gaming, 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. Rumors suggest that the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 model will only be slightly larger than the iPhone 5s.

Apple’s 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. It will also come with 4G LTE data, something that the iPhone 4 doesn’t have.

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In other words, it’s going to beat out the iPhone 4 in every single key area. And you’re only going to have to wait a few short weeks to acquire it as possible option in your search for a new device.

Granted, the iPhone 6 is going to be much more expensive than the iPhone 4 but like I said, its launch should cause a chain reaction that will benefit prospective iPhone 4 buyers.

iPhone Deals

So maybe the iPhone 6 isn’t up to snuff and you don’t want to shell out $199 or more for the flagship model. Even if that’s the case, just by waiting a few weeks you’ll open yourself up to a number of other potential possibilities, all of which are better than the almost four year old iPhone 4.

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. It’s a deal that prospective iPhone 4 buyers should be taking a look at before the iPhone 6′s arrival because the iPhone 5s trumps the iPhone 4 in every single possible way.

The iPhone 6 design will look much different than the iPhone 5s based on leaks.

The iPhone 6 design will look much different than the iPhone 5s based on leaks.

We also expect more iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c ($29 at Walmart and way better than the iPhone 4), iPhone 5 and maybe even iPhone 4s deals to emerge in and around the iPhone 6 release as retailers attempt to compete with each other and with Apple as well. I would not be surprised if a struggling retailer like RadioShack offered a deep discount on the iPhone 5s, a deal that you would not be able to take advantage of if you bought the iPhone 4 right now.

I should also add that Apple currently offers the iPhone 4s for nothing on-contract. The iPhone 4s is better than the iPhone 4 and just as cheap.

Android Deals

The same goes for top Android smartphones. Top iPhone 5s competitors like the LG G3, Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8, devices that are all better than the iPhone 4, will likely see their prices drop in September as sweeten their offers after the arrival of the iPhone 6. We’ve seen several of these devices drop below $100 already.

LG G3 Review from iPhone User - 7

As an added bonus, we’ll likely see the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 arrive in September to compete with the iPhone 6. The Galaxy Note 4 will be a powerful smartphone and we should see day one deals emerge for it as it attempts to compete with the iPhone 6.

Longevity

If you’re still not convinced, maybe this will persuade you. The iPhone 4 reached its EOL (End of Life) after the arrival of iOS 7. That means that the iPhone 4 will not be getting any more iOS updates. iOS 8 will be coming to the iPhone 4s and above but it will not be coming to the iPhone 4. And because Apple’s software is closed, you won’t be able to install an unofficial version of the software.

The iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s and even the iPhone 4s are all set up much better than the iPhone 4. iOS 8 is the iPhone 5′s second iOS update , the first for the iPhone 5s, and the third for the iPhone 4s. As we’ve pointed out, there are plenty of reasons why you’d want iOS 8 over iOS 7.

iOS 8 vs iOS 7 Walkthrough - Spotlight

If you’re not in a hurry to replace your current smartphone and you aren’t one hundred percent sold on the iPhone 4, I highly recommend waiting, at least until September. In September, you’ll have access to the iPhone 6 and you should also have access to cheaper Android devices and a cheaper iPhone 5s.

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We understand that every situation is different. Phones break, money appears, whatever. If you simply can’t wait, we suggest buying the iPhone 4 off-contract at an extremely cheap price point. Apple’s iPhone 4 is nearly four years old, won’t be getting more iOS updates and is outclassed by devices that are just as inexpensive.

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