On the eve of the iPhone 6 pre-orders, I set my alarm for 2:30AM, then went to sleep like a boy on Christmas Eve. Then I slept through the alarm. In retrospect, that was probably the best possible outcome.
Every other year, I struggle with buying a new iPhone at full price. Right now, I'm on the "S" track, meaning my two-year contract is up for renewal in the odd-numbered years (iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5S). So when Apple makes big changes in the design — the metallic frame of the iPhone 4, the longer-screened iPhone 5, and this year's super-sized duo — I spend the days between announcement and launch just staring at the Apple Store and weighing the pros and cons along with the balance in my checking account. (I bought an iPhone 5 off contract, for quite a bit of money.)
Think I'm just gonna wait for the iPhone 6s / iPhone 6 Pluss— Ross Miller (@ohnorosco) September 11, 2014
I tweeted that while at the same time looking up how much I could get if I traded in my iPhone to Gazelle, AT&T, or Amazon (fun fact: a silver iPhone 5S is worth about $10 less than Gold or Space Gray). Yes, I'm absolutely a hypocrite.
Last Friday, the first day of pre-orders, was no different. I repeatedly priced out my ideal device — the iPhone 6 Plus, AT&T, 64GB, Space Gray — before talking myself out of it each time. I'd get far enough for AT&T to check my eligibility. I was 13 months early, but they would knock off $200 from the full $849 retail price (vs. $399 total if subsidized). Plus a $40 "upgrade fee," of course.
And every single time I'd talk myself off that ledge. Why, though? Why do I feel so guilty for not spending almost $1,000 on a smartphone? It was around dinner time, when I started pricing out a Moto X + Moto 360, when I realized I might need a few hours away from the internet.
Two questions I asked myself. One, what does the iPhone 6 have that I don't?
- A larger screen... but no apps that take advantage of that yet. I'd still need my iPad mini for Hearthstone and I've put up with reading on a 4-inch screen long enough. Also, I still don't know which screen size (4.7-inch or 5.5-inch) I'd ultimately be happy with.
- Apple Pay... but I still have to carry my wallet around anyway. It's awesome, but I can wait.
- A faster processor and a better camera... Maybe, but the iPhone 5S is still impressive in both categories.
- Longer battery life and more storage... OK, you got me there, Apple. But you'll always get me there, because your batteries turn back into pumpkins whenever the clock strikes hardware update.
Question two. What's wrong with my iPhone 5S? Not much, really. The phone is less than a year old, I know I can use it with one hand. I still have iOS 8 — and I have U2 no matter what. Also, there's Goat Simulator, the pinnacle of gaming in 2014. That plays very well on my iPhone 5S, thank-you-very-much.
I still need longer battery and more storage, so I paid $180 and bought a 32GB Mophie Space Pack. Still saving myself about $470.
And that's where I am now. I have more battery life, I've essentially tripled my storage capacity. I have iOS 8, and most importantly, I have Goat Simulator. I can wait a year — and maybe I'll use that money towards a first-generation Apple Watch. I'll never learn.
Image by Sean O'Kane