Now is the worst time to buy a new iPhone

Business Insider US

The iPhone 11 lineup
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
  • With Apple's much-rumoured iPhone12 expected to launch in the next few months, now is the worst time to purchase a new iPhone.
  • If you're already planning to spend hundreds of dollars on a new phone, it's probably worth it to wait for the newest model that's expected to come with 5G support and the latest Apple processor.
  • Even if you don't care about having the latest iPhone, Apple typically discounts certain older models when introducing new ones.
  • However, if you're either already on a strict budget or need a new iPhone in a pinch, we'd recommend picking up a new iPhone SE.
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If you're considering splurging on a new iPhone in the near future, it's probably best to re-think that decision.

Apple typically releases its new iPhones in the next few months of the month, meaning the next-generation model may only be less than two months away. If you were already planning to spend around R17,000 to upgrade your iPhone, you'd be best advised to wait until the much-rumoured iPhone 12 hits store shelves rather than investing in a phone that may soon feel outdated.

This year's iPhone is expected to come with 5G support, a new processor, different size options, a refreshed design that's similar to that of the iPad Pro, and OLED screens across all models. That latter point is significant because Apple usually reserves OLED display panels, which are capable of showing richer blacks and bolder colours compared to LCD screens, specifically for its pricier "Pro" iPhone models.

Support for 5G connectivity may not be important right now while carriers are still in the process of building out their networks. But, if you're spending hundreds of dollars on a new device, you'll probably want it to last for at least two years, if not longer. Waiting for the 5G iPhone rather than spending a similar amount of money on last year's model could be a great way to future-proof your device as 5G is expected to become the standard in the coming years.

Apple typically releases its new iPhones near the end of September, but it looks like the iPhone 12 lineup may launch a bit later than usual this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking on the company's fiscal third-quarter earnings call, Luca Maestri, Apple's senior vice president and chief financial officer, said the company expects supply of the new product to be available "a few weeks later" compared to last year's iPhone 11 and 11 Pro launch.

Those comments line up with some previous reports about the expected iPhone 12's launch. Bloomberg, for example, reported in April that some versions of the new iPhone may debut a few weeks later but still in the fall time frame. Analysts at JP Morgan, however, have previously predicted that the next iPhone could be delayed by up to one or two months.

Even if you're not interested in having the newest iPhone, it's still probably worth it to wait. Apple typically discounts older iPhones when introducing its newest model. Last year, for example, it cut the price of 2018's iPhone XR when it launched the iPhone 11 lineup. 

If you're in a dire situation and need a replacement iPhone right away, you may not want to wait another month or two for the expected iPhone 12. In that case, we'd suggest an iPhone SE to tide you over.

But, if your current iPhone is working well enough to get by for a couple of months, your best bet is to wait until the fall to upgrade.

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