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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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AdityaS080
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AdityaS080,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/14/2013 | 6:58:52 PM
re: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone
Really now? The writer gets to need a few facts straight here. One of the obvious ones being that the iphone 4s has a 8 megapixel camera, not a 5mp. (5th paragraph, sentence 4 - under the title "What is the new iPhone really going to give me?"

Okay, I admit it. That was the only thing. However, on a different note, Apple is really getting worse. This can be seen through the new iPhone line up. Yes, the 5c is great to reach out to the poor people and it's also a great move from a buisness point of view. But what about the 5s? Did it have to be compromised too?
All the features that're present on the new iPhone were already spread around as rumors. Despite that fact, all the new iPhone has is a fingerprint reader and a 64 bit processor. Yay. Oh and it's in GOLD! That should SURELY do the trick, right?
Wrong.
Apple is just struggling to keep up when things like a bigger screen and more importantly, a bigger battery are in demand. They didn't even improve the camera, really.
If you notice, Apple is just carrying out a pattern. They say that the new iPhone is remarkable, over and over, but in fact it's not. There are a lot of phones out there that are much more competent in areas that are key to any phone.

Don't get me wrong. Apple is still strong with it's over priced macbooks and iPads but the iPhone is really just moving around in circles.
The iPhone is drowning. It'll only be a matter of time.
Yatiyati
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Yatiyati,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/14/2013 | 6:15:00 PM
re: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone
Question #6 - My car insurance is $40 month, electric bill is $50 a month, I don't have a dime to my name or any future savings. Do I buy a Iphone and pay $70 a month just to join the lemmings?
ToddJ680
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ToddJ680,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/14/2013 | 6:09:45 PM
re: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone
Lame comment.
ToddJ680
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ToddJ680,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/14/2013 | 6:08:40 PM
re: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone
Wow, great advice. You don't say exactly what you don't like, just provide a general statement that you're disappointed with the IPhone 5s. Yeah, I guess that 64 bit processor was a horrible and non-innovative idea...except that Samsung has now decided to follow suit with using a 64 bit processor.
Frank_Truth
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Frank_Truth,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/14/2013 | 4:47:02 PM
re: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone
I am very disappointed with the iPhone 5s. It is astonishing just how far the apple has fallen. Once an apple falls from its tree, it starts to rot.
anon8476873206
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anon8476873206,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/14/2013 | 4:10:25 PM
re: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone
The first question to ask is do I want a good phone or an iPhone?
BoL753
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BoL753,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/14/2013 | 3:25:45 PM
re: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone
Yeah, the 5S seems more like it was just something they threw together so they could keep their yearly rollout schedule intact while they are really working on a completely new design with the 6.
Political Poop
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Political Poop,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/14/2013 | 1:27:55 PM
re: 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A New iPhone
Much ado about nothing. I have an iPhone5... I won't be buying a 5S.
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