Archive for September, 2016

Whenever Tim Cook and the Apple gang announce a new iPhone, a whole slew of people start doing the math: Is it worth it to hang on to the model you already have or does it pay to upgrade? (The iPhone 7 starts at $649, and the 7 Plus starts at $769.)

Strictly personal preferences aside (like you must have those new dual cameras, waterproofing, and/or longer battery life) or unless you’re filthy rich, the answer to that question can be really confusing. I’ll do my best to break it all down for you.

When it pays to buy the new phone:

**If you’ve been enrolled in the Apple Upgrade Program (which starts at $32.41 per month) for at least six months, you can trade in your old phone for the new iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus. You’ll have to pay the equivalent of 12 months though, so if you’ve been enrolled for less than a year, you have to pay the difference. Also, if your phone’s damaged, you’ll pony-up for the AppleCare deductible too. Check here to see if you’re eligible for an upgrade. If you are, you can reserve your new phone when pre-orders begin on Friday, but you have to go into an Apple Store in person, with two forms of ID, plus a credit card and your Social Security number to get it. Apple will run a new credit check, and a new 24-month clock starts over again.

**If your current iPhone is a 4S model or older, now’s a good time to upgrade for several reasons too. For starters, Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 10, doesn’t work on that — or previous models — any longer. Sure, the phone still “works,” but there’s a pretty big difference between it working and working well. There’s also an issue of screen size, battery life, and the new camera capabilities, which for several people alone, are worth the price of the upgrade.

**If you have an iPhone 6S in excellent condition, and another phone to use between now and getting the iPhone 7, you can sell your 6S on eBay right now for as much $660 — and lock in that price. (This is what I’m going to do myself.) According to Vincent Payen, Head of Consumer Selling at eBay, my current 128GB iPhone 6S is going for $660. Log in to the Sell it Yourself program, list the phone, and you automatically earn the trending price — even if it ends up selling for less! If it does sell for less, you’ll get the balance in the form of an eBay coupon. It’s not cold hard cash, but it certainly softens the blow of a new device. To make the most though, jump on it now. Prices go down fast once the new phones actually go on sale.

**If you’re eligible for an upgrade through your carrier — with a serious “buyer beware” caveat. Mobile carriers used to offer upgrades every two years or so. They don’t do that anymore. Some people were grandfathered in though. Here’s how to check your eligibility for the major players:
Verizon (800.922.0204 or dial *611 from your phone)
AT&T (800.331.0500 or dial 611 from your phone)
T-Mobile (800.866.2453 or dial 611 from your phone)
Sprint (866.866.7509 or dial *3 from your phone)

Whether re-upping with the carrier’s new device “lease” program is the best bang for your buck really depends, because you’re still paying it off, plus interest (like leasing a new car). If you’re going to stick with a specific carrier for sure, paying the device off in installments might work best for you, since you’d otherwise have to pay the full price in one big chunk. Just be sure to crunch the numbers yourself and read the fine print, because either way, you’re still paying more to finance your handset than paying full price up front.

**If your current smartphone is on it’s last legs — or if you don’t have a smartphone yet at all — it might pay to buy the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus. Nearly half of all Americans only upgrade their phone when their current one craps-out for good, according to Gallup. If the screen’s cracked and you’re getting splinters in your lips, or the battery dies *while* you’re still charging it up, or taking more than ten seconds of video fills up the memory … it’s time to get a new iPhone. (Read that last line in your best Jeff Foxworthy voice.)

When it pays to hold off:

**If you have an iPhone 6 or newer model and it’s working great, it might make more sense to wait to see what Apple unveils next year. 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. There’s a lot of speculation already that truly revolutionary changes might be in store then.

**If you can’t afford to shell out several hundred dollars for a smartphone, there are all kinds of really good Android devices in the $200 range that might make more sense for you. Shop around!

**You’re buying the phone for a child or teen. Unless money’s no object, I think it’s crazy to shell out major bank for a device for a youngster. Give them your old hand-me-down instead, or make them save up from chores or odd-jobs to buy one of their own.

When it doesn’t matter:

**You’re considering spending $500 – $1,000 on a consumer camera anyway. The new iPhone 7 Plus could be point-and-shoot killers. While it’s still too early to test Apple’s “camtastic” superlatives yet, the promise of dual camera’s, optical image stabilization, better shooting in low-light, four-LED flash, and Lytro-like selective focus could put it on par with many popular DSLR’s on the market today.

**You just won the lottery.

**You need the bragging rights.

Be sure to share your thoughts on the pro’s and costs of upgrading now versus waiting in the comments section below.

Posted in Girlfriend's Guide, Great Gadgets, In The Press, TechNow, Top tech news