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9/13/2013
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5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone

Apple's new iPhones are enticing, but there are plenty of reasons to hold off on buying one. Answer these questions before you rush to the store.

iPhone 5c, 5s: 10 Smart Design Choices
iPhone 5c, 5s: 10 Smart Design Choices
(click image for larger view)
The Apple iPhone 5c is already available for preorder online, and both the 5c and iPhone 5s will hit retail stores Sept. 20. They are in many ways exciting smartphones that bring compelling new features to the table. The 5c is available in a handful of colors and starts at just $99. The 5s adds a champagne hue to the mix and makes significant improvements to the processor and the camera.

Shiny and tempting as it might be, a new iPhone isn't necessarily for everyone. Here are five questions to ask before you jump aboard the iPhone bandwagon.

Am I eligible for an upgrade?

Smartphones are expensive. If you're at the end of your contract and are eligible for an upgrade, you'll be able to purchase the iPhone 5s or 5c at the lowest possible retail price: $199 for the 16-GB 5s and $99 for the 16-GB 5c. (Want more storage? You'll pay more.) If you're in the middle of your contract and not eligible for an upgrade, you're going to pay a whole lot more for that new iPhone, possibly as much as the full $549/$649 retail price. Though everyone has their own budget for new toys, shelling out full price for an iPhone will be painful.

[ For more iPhone buying tips, see Apple iPhone 5s, 5c: Pros And Cons. ]

Can I trade in my old phone?

Yes and no. Some stores, such as Best Buy and Walmart, will accept trade-ins. To get some cash at Best Buy or Walmart for your old device, however, you must be willing to sign a new contract with one of the four major network operators: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon. Some third-party stores will let you trade the device in even if you're in the middle of your contract, but carrier stores probably won't. This is something that will vary widely by carrier and store. Your best chance to offset the price of a new device is to sell your old one. The problem is, you can't sell a device that's still on contract; you must own it outright.

What is the new iPhone really going to give me?

This depends on the device you're switching from. If you're on an older iPhone 4 or 4S, there are plenty of reasons to upgrade. If you have an iPhone 5, the incentive isn't so great. The iPhone 4 and 4S, for example, have older cameras (5 megapixels for iPhone 4, 8 MP for iPhone 4S), no LTE 4G, and smaller screens. Updating to the iPhone 5s or 5c will improve all three of those features. The iPhone 5, however, has LTE and the same screen as the iPhone 5s/5c. Jumping from the iPhone 5 to the 5c or 5s doesn't make too much sense, as the increase in hardware performance is not as significant as if you're upgrading from an iPhone 4 or 4S.

Can I get the new iPhone features on my older iPhone?

You bet! Many of the new features for the iPhone 5c and 5s are found in the operating system, iOS 7. The iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S will both have access to iOS 7 and all the features therein. iOS 7 adds hundreds of new features to both new and old iOS devices alike. You'll be missing out only on the new hardware-specific features, such as the camera or processor.

Can I switch if I'm coming from another platform?

If you're currently using an Android, BlackBerry or Windows-based device, don't fret too much. There are definitely tradeoffs between all the mobile platforms, but Apple's ecosystem is one of the strongest. It has hundreds of thousands of apps -- including any app you might be worried about leaving behind on your old device -- and more third-party accessories and add-ons than any other device. Things such as your contacts, emails and photos can be transferred easily from your old device to a new iPhone.

Buying a new iPhone will be easier and cheaper if you're coming from an older iPhone that is eligible for an upgrade. You'll enjoy the improvements more and won't spend as much cash to get the new smartphone. If you're stuck in the middle of a contact, however, consider trading or selling some old gear to offset the cost of the new device.

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rd282
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rd282,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/16/2013 | 12:59:02 PM
re: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone
Interesting Comments Harry. This is the first time I have come across the data/voice issue being a #1 concern. Also, Verizon has always had the data/voice issue with iPhone so I am not surprised that they would be focusing on Android phones.
How often do you really need the Supposed real 4G LTE speeds (Let's face it, its not really 4G or just barely nipping into the 4G minimum range by international standards ) vs 3G data when your talking on the phone? If your using Verizon, or other similar Technology then I can understand your frustration.
anon2850751364
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anon2850751364,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/15/2013 | 4:13:11 PM
re: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone
Question 1. Do I REALLY need the new iPhone?
Question 1a? Why?
Question 2. Will I still have my false sense of superiority?
It's a phone. A PHONE! These people are the same mindless robots that could be seen making makeshift shrines outside of Apple stores when Jobs dies. Really people? Really? Memorials at a store? Was the "Golden Calf" app removed from the iTunes store?
Seriously, I just don't understand people. What's worse, I work in news and not a SINGLE day goes by without some Apple-related story getting floated across my desk. Weeks ago, a story was proposed about the features that Apple MIGHT have in the next iPhone. Nothing factual, just things that MIGHT be in it. Give me a break. Samsung's Galaxy line of phones kicks the iPhone in the ass, hands down. It's really quite simple. Get an Android OS phone if you really want to explore what it can do, craft it to your needs, get rid of what you don't need and having your every move not tracked by Apple. Get an iOS phone if you just want a simple phone that has nifty apps like the "fart machine" and having iTunes rule your life.
Comparing the Apple and Android isn't fair because they are not the same. Apple makes iPhones that run on the iOS platform. Samsung (as an example) makes phones that run on the Android platform. But LG, Kyocera and others also make phones on the Android platform. When Apple starts letting outside manufacturers use the iOS platform and a side-by-side comparison of each OS on similar phones, then we can have a fair argument. And when that happens, Apple will lose. Guess that's why they won't let it out of their sight. Also, stop and think why they won't go with micro-USB. The simple reason is my old micro-USB cable works from phone to phone. Apple? Open the wallet!
Hopefully sooner or later these Apple lemmings will figure out they've been played for a looooooong time.
Harry Devlin
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Harry Devlin,
User Rank: Strategist
9/15/2013 | 8:30:54 AM
re: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone
Was anyone complaining that the iPhone 5 was too slow and that it needed a higher performance processor? It's likely that the reason for the higher performance processor is that iOS7 is expected to finally implement true multitasking, rather than just task switching, so a faster processor is necessary.

The number one complaint about the iPhone 5 was that it couldn't do simultaneous voice and 4G LTE data, while virtually every Android phone doesn't have this problem. It was hoped that the 5S would fix this issue.

On GSM carriers the iPhone 5 drops the data down to 3G during voice calls--on CDMA carriers you can't do simultaneous voice and data at all. Yet every 4G LTE Android phone can do simultaneous voice and 4G LTE data. This is a big selling point used by salespeople in Verizon and Sprint stores to steer buyers toward more profitable Android phones. This feature requires that there be two antennas inside the phone and that both the 4G LTE radio and the GSM/CDMA radio be on at the same time. It costs money for the second antenna and the second antenna requires space inside the phone.
Harry Devlin
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Harry Devlin,
User Rank: Strategist
9/15/2013 | 8:20:35 AM
re: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone
The iPhone 6 will likely offer a larger screen option, as well as NFC. It may be prudent to save the upgrade discount for the iPhone 6.
Harry Devlin
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Harry Devlin,
User Rank: Strategist
9/15/2013 | 8:15:22 AM
re: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone
5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone

1. Are my favorite Android apps available for the iPhone?

While iOS has more apps than Android, there are some extremely useful apps that can't work on the iPhone because of hardware or firmware limitations.

2. Am I willing to give up simultaneous voice and 4G LTE data?

Virtually every Android 4G LTE phone supports simultaneous voice and 4G LTE data on any carrier. No iPhones support this. On GSM carriers (AT&T and T-Mobile), the iPhone drops down to 3G data during voice calls; on Verizon and Sprint it is not possible to have simultaneous voice and data on an iPhone.

3. Do I want NFC?

Apple tends to be late in implementing new communications technologies. They still have no devices with NFC, they were very late with 4G LTE, and they severely limit the Bluetooth capabilities of their devices.

4. Do I want a larger, higher-resolution screen?

Apple tends to lag when it comes to screen sizes and resolutions. Some users are perfectly content with a smaller screen while others prefer a larger screen for apps like mapping and for video playback. With a larger screen phone you may eliminate the need for a separate tablet device.

5. Do I need a USB port?

Many Android phones have USB ports for connecting devices that conform to the USB OTG standard. iPhones do no yet have this capability which severely limits their versatility and functionality.

The bottom line is that the iPhone 5S is an evolutionary product that doesn't offer much new in terms of useful features. It may be better to save that upgrade discount for the iPhone 6 which will likely offer at least a larger screen and NFC, if not a USB port and expanded Bluetooth capabilities.
anon6821883284
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anon6821883284,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/15/2013 | 2:31:48 AM
re: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone
Question #6 Why... just why?
xaviertjones
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xaviertjones,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/14/2013 | 10:47:02 PM
re: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone
you're poor, YOU ARE THE LEMMING already...
xaviertjones
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xaviertjones,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/14/2013 | 10:46:01 PM
re: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone
Wow information week doesn't even TRY and hide the fact they are a paid micro$oft mouthpiece anymore do they?
xaviertjones
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xaviertjones,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/14/2013 | 10:45:18 PM
re: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone
quite the ignorant comment, apple never promised a radically new device every year and I don't expect one and respect them for not doing so. What does it say about your previous product if you have to throw it away and start from scratch every time?? Want the answer, then ask Samsung lol!
glennn1234
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glennn1234,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/14/2013 | 7:54:59 PM
re: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone
gets to need a few facts..........................

Ha Ha
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