The iPhone 13 is literally just around the corner, and it’s usually the time of the year when I (and millions of others) wonder whether to break the proverbial piggy bank or not. Before we dive into it, just know that this is my story. You may or may not resonate with this, but I’m putting my tech writer hat down and picking up my regular user hat, as the iPhone (and, generally, Apple products) is the one I purchase out of my own pocket. Oh, and I’m referring to unlocked, carrier-free/no-contract devices; if you have operator perks, you will likely not resonate with those who pay outright the full unsubsidized price.
There are two components to this: first, and most important, is the financial component; then, second, there’s the actual “upgrade” component. If you want to add a third, you can do a cost-benefit component as well.
The financial component
You see, Samsung might have killed the $1,000 price tag with the Z Flip 3, but I have absolutely no doubt that the flagship iPhone 13 Pro Max will go beyond that, just like the 12 Pro Max I currently use.
While iPhones – in pristine condition – usually retain a good part of their resale value, I’d still have to spend a considerable amount of money for the upgrade.
This brings me to my next point…
The upgrade component
If the rumors are true, we’ll get some camera and performance improvements, as well as a potentially smaller notch with an improved Face ID module.
Now, don’t get me wrong, if I was two generations behind, I’d probably be thinking about upgrading, which is pretty much what I’m used to doing for the past five years or so. If you’re coming from the 11 or Xs, you should definitely be on the lookout for the iPhone 13.
However, personally, coming from the 12 Pro Max, the expense of upgrading outweighs the changes Apple is going to probably be bringing to the table, and here’s the cost-benefit component of the equation.
The iPhone 12 Pro factor
I could also argue that the price of the iPhone 12 will go down after the launch of the 13-line-up, which could make it a good upgrade if you’re generations behind. It’s a smart choice to make, not to upgrade to the latest model, but for the now-cheaper predecessor.
The iPhone 12 Pro (Max, in my case) is future-proof enough to operate smoothly for at least another year. If I’m completely honest, if the iPhone 14 Pro Max doesn’t bring compelling features I might skip that one as well, but that’s a topic for a year from now.
iOS 15 will run without any issues on the 12 Pro Max, and the app performance won’t be impacted at all. My battery is still in 100% condition, so no issues there, and the cameras on the 12 Pro Max are good enough for at least another year, if not more.
I think, and again, you may or may not resonate, that smartphones have become too expensive for the incremental upgrade they bring from the predecessor to the current generation. The annual upgrade cycle is a story of the past, and thanks to powerful internals, performance doesn’t degrade much (if at all) to warrant an iPhone 13 upgrade coming from the 12 Pro Max.
Everything I said above can go out the window if Apple surprises us with something major, like an iPhone that folds or flips, but, in all honesty, that’s not realistic at this point.
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