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Why You Shouldn’t Buy an iPhone Right Now



You may have noticed that prices are dropping on iPhones. Target and Radio Shack recently dropped the iPhone 4 down to $169.99 for the base model. Target did one better by selling the same one for $149.99. Heck, even the iPhone 3GS is getting a price cut (down to $20 at Target). While these offers may be tempting, we are here to advise you to stay away. There’s something much better right around the corner.

Don’t Be Deceived

Phones are one of the rare purchases where the initial purchase price is only a small part of the equation. Sure, if you can get the phone you want for a few bucks less than you normally would have, go for it. But the bulk of what you’re going to be paying for comes in an envelope or an email from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile. Your monthly bills are going to easily trump anything you pay up-front for your handset.

If you get a plan with a lot of minutes, a data plan (required), and an unlimited text messaging plan, you may be paying upwards of $100/month (or more) for your iPhone bill. Over the course of two years (the required contract length) that’s $2000-3000 you’re putting towards your iPhone. Suddenly $50 off the initial price isn’t sounding so great, is it?

“But–” you may protest, “it’s the iPhone. I thought you couldn’t go wrong with the iPhone?”

Though Android fanboys may disagree, those who appreciate Apple products will agree that the iPhone is truly something to behold:

Physically, it has the highest resolution of any phone on the market. Text and pictures look sharper and clearer than on any other phone you can buy right now. The phone has a slick design that harkens back to beautiful Leica cameras, and it has a glass front and back.

Apple’s iOS (the firmware that the phone runs) is easy to use. It has the best app library of any mobile devices. Since it’s made by Apple, your odds of running into a crash – or anything else that will require your being a ‘techie’ to fix – are low (much lower than on Android). If you ever do have any problems, you can take it to your local Apple Store (or send it in if you don’t live near one) and the Genius Bar will take care of it.

Don’t Bite the Bullet

So, with all of these positives, why in blazes are we recommending that you not buy one right now?


The iPhone 4 launched in June of last year. In tech product years, that means it’s about as old as Larry King. It’s such a great phone that it’s still one of the best on the market (many believe it is the best). But it’s getting old, and Apple always improves on last year’s model.

As for the iPhone 3GS, don’t even think about it. This phone is already two years old. That means that, if you bought one now, it would be four years old by the time your contract ends. It was an amazing phone in 2009, but do you really want to be toting around 2009’s best in 2013?

iPhone 5

We’re begging you to hold out because the iPhone 5 is almost here. We don’t know exactly what features it will have, but we can promise you that it will be better than the iPhone 4 – and will be well worth the wait. How do we know? Because that’s what Apple does. They make their latest upgrade more powerful and attractive than the previous year’s edition.

Apple hasn’t officially announced anything about the iPhone 5 yet, but it looks like it’s going to launch in either September or October. So it should be here within the next month or two (three at the most). It may seem like a long time to wait if you’re chomping at the bit to get an iPhone, but that’s nothing compared to the two years that you’ll be living with it.

Will it be that big of an upgrade over the iPhone 4? Yes, it will be. Apple has a lot more competition from Android than it did a few years ago, so their days of releasing a minor upgrade to the iPhone (like they did in 2009 with the 3GS) are over.

The next iPhone will almost certainly be lighter and thinner. It may have a larger screen. It is guaranteed to have a smooth, sexy design that will instantly make the iPhone 4 look like an ancient relic.

It will definitely be faster than the iPhone 4. It will probably have the same chip powering it that the iPad 2 does. If you haven’t had the pleasure of using the iPad 2 yet, it is fast. As it will have a smaller display to power than the iPad, it may even be faster than the iPad 2.

Best of all, the next iPhone will cost $200 on a two-year contract. So you’re really only paying $50 more than what you would pay for the iPhone 4 at Target right now. $50 isn’t anything to sneeze at, but that may be half of what you pay every month during the next two years.

Don’t Do It!

So we implore you: don’t buy that iPhone right now. That small discount becomes meaningless when you’re looking at two years. The new one will be better, more powerful, and sexier. It will be more fun and practical to have for the next two years than the iPhone 4 would be.

You may not feel like waiting right now, but trust us – it will be worth the wait.



  1. Goofy Goober

    08/02/2011 at 5:33 pm

    Did we really need a whole article on this? Its pretty obvious.

  2. Dale Strauss

    08/02/2011 at 5:50 pm

    It’s obvious to all us nerds, but trust me, to my kids and family it is just “get me an iPhone – NOW!” Jess is not preaching “TO” the choir, he’s preaching “FOR” of the choir (us) to hold back the thundering herd.

    • You're a Towell

      08/06/2011 at 9:54 am

      Dude, get off Will’s wife.

  3. Djmcnut

    08/03/2011 at 2:43 am

    Really. ” It will probably have the same chip powering it that the iPad 2 does. If you haven’t had the pleasure of using the iPad 2 yet, it is fast.”
    Are you familiar with the size of the iPad 2 battery? It makes up half the guts of the thing. How long do you think the relatively tiny battery in an iPhone will last with the same chip? The current iPhone battery sucks as  it is. 
    Should you wait to buy the  5, or 4S or whatever?  Maybe. Me, I’ll wait to see how the next iteration of the iPhone performs. 

  4. Skepticus

    08/03/2011 at 8:09 am

    Good advice

  5. Donald Michael Kraig

    08/03/2011 at 3:04 pm

    The problem with your analysis is that by following your advice nobody would ever buy anything and the entire economy would collapse! Your view comes down to one thing: don’t buy now because there’s something better just around the corner. Well, there’s ALWAYS something better just around the corner. Just wait a few months and you’ll have better! faster! cheaper! more revolutionary! more disruptive! etc.!

    The solution, however, is simple: only buy when you need something. If you need a new phone, get one. If you need a new computer, buy one. If you need a new car, purchase it. 

    If your phone is crashing, the battery is dying, and you need some application(s) that aren’t on your current phone, and you want an iPhone, these discounts are wonderful! If you don’t need to upgrade, they’re meaningless.

    In the end, phones, tablets, computers, TVs, are just tools. You have a hammer. It works. Are you going to buy another because it’s on sale? I don’t think so. If your hammer breaks, telling you to wait before being another because one coming out in a few months has new features is meaningless. You need a hammer now. 

    So buy what you need, not when new features are announced. 

    • Ayden Cohen

      09/13/2011 at 8:14 pm

      Perhaps that may be the most pragmatic approach to buying anything, but plenty of people simply don’t follow it. Need supports the framework for our economy. Emotions drive our economy. (Just look to the iPhone 4’s initial sales if you disagree) 

      All Will is suggesting is that you consider the long term value of your investment (since you’ll be keeping it for 2+ years) and buy when timing is most right. If that means now because your phone has broken, I don’t see him suggesting you wait 3 months for a new iteration of the iPhone. And he’s definitely not saying wait til iPhone 6 is announced, then released. I am quite positive none of this article applies to someone in actual NEED of a phone, but rather, someone who is looking to be on the cutting edge with these tools.P.S. I believe your suggestion is more likely to stunt our economic success. Buying only when you need a replacement would encourage planned obsolesce (more than already present) and discourage innovation. 

  6. Ashya Short

    09/14/2011 at 12:52 pm

    donald craig is a retard

  7. Ragu

    09/28/2011 at 3:29 am

    lol….Ashya short your post actually makes some sense it was not short for a name like Ashy Short, but the second post by calling Donald a retard was not needed. 

  8. Jacob

    07/25/2012 at 6:46 pm

    This is what I needed to hear. I have the Droid 2 and I was just about to upgrade to the iPhone 4S. I guess I can hold off and see what they have in September/October. It just seems like such a long time to wait. This phone better be worth it!! And hopefully it is in the $200-$250 range with a 2 year plan! But thank you, you just made my decision a bit easier :)

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