How Patience Can Save You on Your Next Smartphone

If you’re thinking about buying a new iPhone right now, forget about it. If you do go ahead and buy that iPhone now, you’ll likely pay a $100 impatience fee. If you waited a few weeks, probably not even a month, you’d realize significant savings on the exact same model. Or you’d get a better model for the same price.

It might be difficult to exercise patience, especially if you need a new phone. But unless your phone doesn’t work at all and you absolutely need a new one right this second, buying a phone at this particular moment is nothing short of foolish. In fact, there are ideal times for buying a new phones, and times when it should be avoided at all costs.

New Models Mean Discounts

Every year since 2007, Apple has released a new iPhone. Each one has offered a different set of new features that they try to sell as something revolutionary, but it’s usually just a marginal upgrade over the previous model. That’s good news for almost everyone. Some people get the shiny new toy, while others can get a great value on a similar model.

When Apple announces its newest iPhone model, it usually starts at $199.99 for the lowest-capacity model. Since that is now 16GB, it is adequate for most. At the same time, it then discounts all of its previous models by $100. When the iPhone 5 was announced last September, the iPhone 4S immediately dropped from $199.99 to $99.99 — even though the iPhone wasn’t even available yet.

Even better, the iPhone 4 got dropped from $99.99, which it hit when the iPhone 4S was announced in 2011, to free. You could have, in other words, used your cell phone upgrade to obtain an 8GB iPhone 4 without paying a dime. Had you purchase that same phone a week prior, it would have cost you $100.

Check the Rumor Mill

Great. Now you know that when you want to buy a new phone, the best time to do so is just after the latest model is announced. The logical follow-up: how do you know when the next model will be announced? It’s not as though companies come out and say it. Perhaps a few weeks before an announcement they’ll send invitations to the press, which the press will then publish. But an invitation published two weeks before an announcement doesn’t help if you bought the phone three weeks before announcement.

When you have an inkling that you want to get a new phone, it is crucial that you check out tech rumors at some of the bigger, and even some of the smaller, tech blogs. The information they carry might not always be 100 percent accurate, but that’s why they call it the rumor mill and not the facts mill. Yet even hazy information will steer you in the right direction. If, for instance, you see that Apple has an announcement coming in late August (as is the current rumor), you know to hold off a little bit longer.

Eventually you’ll see more reliable information appear, at which time you can make your decision. The patience part comes at the beginning, when you might not be sure. But that should pass soon enough.

Not Just Apple

In years past, Apple was the one company to watch in terms of smartphones. In the past couple of years, though, we’ve seen many Android manufacturers create hype that, while perhaps not in line with the iPhone hype, is still pretty palpable. If you’re waiting for the next big Android phone, you should have an idea of when it’s coming out.

For instance, if you had an upgrade in early 2013, you could have checked the tech blogs and found out that the Galaxy S4 was coming out in the first quarter, or early second quarter at the latest. You would then know that whether you wanted the latest model, or you wanted to save on the Galaxy S3, you were better off waiting until March or April. Otherwise you’re spending an extra $100 or so no a device that will be discounted in relatively short order.

Of course, not everyone has the patience to wait even a few weeks for a new phone. Some people break theirs and absolutely need a replacement. So this will not work for everyone. But the average consumer is downright foolish to not check in on these rumors to see what’s coming down the pike. Failure to do so can leave you with a device that is outdated, overpriced, or both.

Article written by

Joe Pawlikowski writes, edits, and consults for several technology blogs across the web. He keeps a personal blog at JoePawl.com.

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