Should You Wait for the iPhone 16 or Buy an Earlier Model? For Me, the Answer Is Clear

Buying the latest generation model is usually not the best option for your budget.

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As we approach the halfway point of the year, I often get asked the same question: “Should I wait for the iPhone 16 to come out, or should I buy an older model?” At the end of the day, there’s always speculation about potential price drops for existing models, as well as uncertainty surrounding the new features of the upcoming generation. Plus, Apple isn’t exactly known for making groundbreaking changes every year.

Personally, I typically advise people to consider the significant amount of money they would save by resisting the urge to impulse buy and instead make a more rational decision.

The first thing to consider: Which iPhone are you currently using? Before making any recommendations, it’s important to know which model of iPhone you’re currently using. Usually, an iPhone’s upgrade cycle is shorter than an Android's (with some exceptions).

Apart from the condition of the battery (which can be replaced at Apple for a reasonable price), the typical lifespan of an iPhone matches its software update cycle, which is around five or maybe six years.

If you tend to use the same phone for a long time, upgrading to a relatively modern model will bring a significant change. However, if you upgrade your phone every few years, you’ll probably need to switch to the latest model to see noticeable differences.

To go Pro or not to go Pro? This is a common question. In my opinion, the non-Pro model is the better choice for most users. The Pro models are designed for users who need features like shooting in RAW format, a more advanced zoom, higher resolution, and access to all the latest Apple features. For instance, the iPhone 15 Pro supports Apple Intelligence, while the iPhone 15 doesn’t.

The non-Pro iPhones offer everything an average user may need at a significantly cheaper price. The differences in power and camera are usually not noticeable, except for the zoom. In any case, you might be interested in reading our comparisons.

Straight to the point: to wait or not to wait. Now that you’ve considered which model you currently have and whether you’re interested in the Pro version, you need to ask yourself which iPhone you want to upgrade to: the latest iPhone, the model before that, or the phone from two years ago. If there haven’t been major improvements like Face ID under the screen, a big design revamp, or a significant camera upgrade, buying the latest model is usually not worth it.

Personally, I really care about zoom functionality, and there are rumors about the iPhone 16 Pro having 5x zoom, just like the iPhone 15 Pro Max and 16 Pro Max. This alone might make it worth waiting for the new model. In other words, waiting might be a good idea if you really want a specific feature. But if you’re not too picky about features, you can probably get by without the latest model.

It’s often a wise decision to stick with the previous model, given that there are usually no significant differences between the latest model and the one before it. Many people won’t be able to distinguish between an iPhone 14 Pro and an iPhone 15 Pro. In addition, very few individuals will utilize the 48 MP camera or notice the small differences in bezel size.

The models from a couple of years ago are also a good purchase. There may be noticeable differences in camera quality and processing power, which will be important in the medium term, between these older models and the latest ones. However, they aren’t that different from the latest model. For instance, it’s still a good idea to buy the iPhone 14 Pro today because it still has three to four years of software updates left.

The main factor to consider is the price difference. If you can get the model just before the newest one at a good price, it’s a great option. Similarly, if the model from two years ago is noticeably cheaper and within your budget, it’s worth considering.

Do iPhone prices drop? Yes, but not so much. iPhones tend to lose value at a slower rate than Android phones. You can see that in the price history.

iPhone 15 Pro price evolution Price evolution of the iPhone 15 Pro.

Above is a graph of the iPhone 15 Pro price evolution on Amazon. The iPhone 15 Pro was initially priced at $999 on Apple’s official store, the same price it costs today. However, the 15 Pro’s price on Amazon has fluctuated in the past few months. Although they’re still pricey, refurbished models are obviously cheaper and cost considerably less than the original price.

What about models with a lower starting price, such as the iPhone 14?

iPhone 14 price evolution Price evolution of the iPhone 14.

This chart provided by Keepa is not very useful because it only shows the last few months. The 128 GB iPhone 14’s price at launch was $799. Almost two years later, the current price is $699, which is only $100 less after 24 months. However, the prices on Amazon are more expensive. You’ll have to pay the original price if you want to purchase it new. As the stock becomes scarce, the product doesn’t depreciate in value as much as one might expect.

To answer the question of whether to wait for the iPhone 16 or purchase the iPhone 15, I advise always buying the model just before the newest one unless you expect significant new features in the latest generation (which, spoiler alert, is unlikely).

Image | Xataka On

Related | iPhone 16: Release Date, Price, Models and Everything We Think It’s Coming

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